CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Danny Hultzen allowed six hits in eight innings and Dan Grovatt hit a go-ahead two-run home run as Virginia beat Oklahoma 3-2 in the opening game of the Charlottesville Super Regional on Saturday.
The Cavaliers (51-12) overcame unusually sloppy defense thanks to Grovatt's shot to right in the bottom of the sixth. Hultzen (11-1) then set down the next six Sooners hitters, and national saves leader Kevin Arico earned his 18th with a scoreless ninth.
The Sooners (47-16), winners in 11 of 12 coming in, scored in the fifth and sixth innings, each time with the help of poor defense. They struck out 11 times, including the final two outs with runners on first and second in the ninth.
The teams will meet again Sunday. Robert Morey (9-3) will try to pitch the Cavaliers to their second straight College World Series. Zach Neal (8-3) will get the start for Oklahoma.
The start of Saturday's game was delayed nearly two hours by a thunderstorm. Once the game got under way, Hultzen escaped the rut that made his last four starts pedestrian. The Atlantic Coast Conference's top pitcher cruised through four innings, but then his defense failed.
In the fifth, Hultzen hit Max White leading off and he moved to second on a sacrifice. After a strikeout, Hultzen got Chris Ellison to ground to third for what should have been the final out, but the ball glanced off Steven Proscia's glove as White scored.
An inning later, Keith Werman bobbled a double play grounder at second base with one out, allowing Tyler Ogle to get to second. He scored when White lined a single to left.
Grovatt then came to the rescue, and Hultzen and Arico did the rest.
Werman led off the sixth with a double to left, and Grovatt followed with a line drive homer, making it 3-2. It was Grovatt's ninth home run this season.
Phil Gosselin had homered leading off the game for Virginia's other run.
Hultzen got two strikeouts and a flyout in the seventh. Jarrett Parker made a diving catch in right center to help Hultzen retire the Sooners in the eighth.
Arico allowed a one-out hit and a walk in the ninth, before fanning Chris Ellison to end it.