CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA — Virginia took a 2-1 win over East Carolina on Saturday night in the winners bracket of NCAA Tournament regional play as right-hander Nick Parker shut down the Pirates again.
Parker pitched eight shutout innings for Coastal Carolina with 10 strikeouts against ECU in the 2022 Greenville regional as the Chanticleers took a 9-1 win at Clark-LeClair Stadium before the Pirates prevailed, 13-4, in the subsequent matchup with Coastal for a berth in the Super Regional.
ECU faces another bounce back situation with an elimination game against Oklahoma on Sunday at noon to stay alive in the 2023 regional. The Pirates topped the Sooners, 14-5, on Friday night. Oklahoma ousted Army, 10-1, in the first game Saturday.
Parker (8-0), now a graduate student at Virginia, went seven innings on Saturday night before a supportive crowd of 5,919 at Disharoon Park. He allowed five hits and one run (earned) while walking one and striking out five.
ECU coach Cliff Godwin credited Parker’s performance.
“Last year, we looked like we didn’t see any of his pitches,” Godwin said. “I thought we hit some balls hard off him tonight. But he’s a really good pitcher.
“He’s a Friday night starter in the ACC. He knows how to pitch. He just never throws the pitch you think you’re going to get in any count. He makes it hard on you.”
Jake Berry faced the minimum six batters over the last two innings for his sixth save for Virginia (47-12), which is in position to wrap up the regional with a win in a 6 p.m. contest Sunday against the ECU-Oklahoma survivor.
The team coming out of the first game Sunday would need to beat the Cavs on Sunday night and Monday to win the double-elimination event.
The hosts took a 1-0 lead in the third as Jake Gelof doubled to left field on a ball that became dislodged from Lane Hoover’s glove as he went into the fence. Kyle Teel followed with a run-scoring single.
ECU (46-18) pulled even in the sixth as Carter Cunningham came home on a 2-out single by Ryley Johnson.
Virginia got the deciding run in the seventh after a leadoff walk to Ethan O’Donnell. He stole second and moved to third on a ground out by Teel before scoring on a single by Ethan Anderson off Carter Spivey.
Danny Beal (6-2) was charged with the loss. Garrett Saylor started and went four and one-third innings. Landon Ginn pitched a perfect eighth for the Pirates with a pair of whiffs.