Lead photo credit and press release: Virginia Athletics

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – For the second consecutive game, Virginia (46-15) used timely two-out hitting Saturday (May 8) to complete its Super Regional sweep of Kansas State (35-26) and punch its ticket to the 2024 Men’s College World Series. The Cavaliers downed the Wildcats 10-4 at Disharoon Park to earn the program’s seventh trip to Omaha. All seven appearances have come in the last 15 years, the second most of any collegiate program.

Virginia will make the 1,186-mile trek to Omaha for the third time in the last four years and back-to-back showings for the second time in program history.

After scoring five of seven runs with two outs in the first game of the Super Regional, the Cavaliers posted all 10 runs on Saturday with two outs. Henry Ford’s bases-loaded single that plated two runs for Virginia gave the Cavaliers, the designated visiting team, a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth inning they never relinquished.

In the ninth, Jacob Ference tripled to center field to drive in two runs to break open a one-run (5-4) contest and put Virginia ahead 7-4. Luke Hanson delivered the knockout blow when he scorched a bases loaded double down the left field line in the ninth to up the Cavaliers’ lead to 10-4.

Virginia starting pitcher Jay Woolfolk (4-1) had another solid outing. He allowed three runs on six hits. Woolfolk pitched into the seventh inning and struck out seven batters to match a career-high. It was the second consecutive game Woolfolk hit that number, also retiring seven Mississippi State batters to earn MVP honors during UVA’s NCAA Regional-clinching win against the Bulldogs.

After a Kansas State solo home run led off the eighth inning, UVA’s Chase Hungate came on in relief and he retired six consecutive Wildcat batters to close out the game. Hungate has thrown 6.1 scoreless innings of relief in UVA’s five postseason games.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Virginia jumped out to an early lead by scoring two runs during its first at-bat. With two outs, Casey Saucke belted his first career NCAA Tournament home run and 14th of the season to left centerfield. Ford reached first on an infield single, stole second and then scored on Harrison Didawick’s single to right center.

  •  Kansas State, the game’s home team, also got on the board during the opening inning when Brendan Jones walked, stole second and scored from third base on a sacrifice fly by Kaelen Culpepper.
  • The Wildcats tied the game in the bottom of the second when Nick English singled and then advanced to third on a hit by David Bishop and scored on a field’s choice by Jaden Parsons. UVA pitcher Jay Woolfolk struck out the final two KSU batters to strand Bishop on third base.
  • UVA used more two-out dramatics to retake the lead in the fifth inning. Eric Becker led off with a double, Bobby Whalen reached first on an infield hit and then Griff O’Ferrall loaded the bases when he beat out a bunt and was ruled safe following an officials’ replay. Ethan Anderson struck out and Becker was thrown out at the plate on a fielder’s choice. With the bases still loaded, Henry Ford laced a single down the left field line to score Whalen and O’Ferrall.
  • Kansas State once again answered the UVA offensive output with a two-out solo homer by Brendan Jones in the bottom of the fifth. It was his ninth home run of the season. After Kyan Lodice hustled out a triple on the next at-bat, UVA’s Bobby Whalen raced to deep center field to end the inning, gloving a deep fly by Culpepper on the warning track.
  • UVA catcher Jacob Ference came up with a key defensive play in the bottom of the seventh when he threw out Parsons attempting to steal second base with one out. Immediately afterwards, KSU’s Chuck Ingram smashed a ball off the center field wall that would have tied the game.
  • The Cavaliers took advantage of a two-out walk in the eighth inning to tack on its fifth run. A double by Eric Becker scored Henry Godbout from first base to put UVA ahead 5-3. 
  • Lodice led off the bottom of the eighth with a solo homer to bring KSU back to within one run. It was his first home run off of a left-handed pitcher all season.
  • After Anderson and Saucke posted consecutive base hits in the top of the ninth inning, Ference tripled off the centerfield wall to break open a one-run game and give UVA a 7-4 lead.
  • Walk by Didawick and Godbout loaded the bases in the ninth that resulted in UVA’s final three runs when Luke Hanson doubled down the left field line. 

ADDITIONAL NOTES 

  •  The Cavaliers have reached the College World Series seven times in the last 15 seasons, the second-most in college baseball in that span. (Florida – 8)
  •  The win marked just the second time UVA has swept a Super Regional. The other sweep was against Maryland in 2015, also in Charlottesville.
  •  UVA joins Stanford as the only two programs to reach three of the last four Men’s College World Series. Tennessee can also join the club and is tied 1-1 in its Super Regional.
  •  Virginia will go to back-to-back college world series for the second time in program history and first time since 2014 (National Runner-up) and 2015 seasons (National Champions)
  •  Casey Saucke recorded his first NCAA Tournament home run in 15 possible postseason games.
  •  Jay Woolfolk matched his career high with seven strikeouts. He had seven vs. Mississippi State during the NCAA Regional in his last mound appearance.
  •  UVA scored 15 of its 17 runs during the Super Regional after the fourth inning.
  •  UVA is 29-5 when scoring first this season.
  •  Kansas State lead-off hitters scored in 1st, 2nd and 8th innings

 UP NEXT 

Virginia will be in bracket No. 2 at the Men’s College World Series, which consists of winners of the Knoxville (Tennessee/Evansville), Tallahassee (Florida State) and Chapel Hill (North Carolina/West Virginia) Super Regionals. The Men’s College World Series runs through June 23 or 24 at Charles Schwab Field. The eight-team field includes a double-elimination format that concludes with a best of three series between the two finalists. Game times, dates and television designations are expected to be announced on Monday night (June 11).