OMAHA, Neb. — John Hicks’ RBI single in the seventh inning broke a scoreless tie and Virginia went on to defeat California 4-1 at the College World Series on Sunday.
Virginia ace Danny Hultzen and Tyler Wilson were within an out of combining for the first CWS shutout in five years before Chad Bunting hit a run-scoring single over shortstop with two outs in the ninth inning.
Hicks’ one-out base hit into center ended the longest scoreless CWS game in 24 years, and Steve Proscia followed with a sacrifice fly.
The No. 1 seed Cavaliers (55-10) move to a Bracket 2 winners’ game on Tuesday night, where they will face South Carolina.
Cal (37-22) meets Texas A&M Tuesday.
Hultzen, the No. 2 overall draft pick by the Seattle Mariners, allowed three hits over 6 1-3 innings. He walked three and struck out six. Wilson (9-0) got the win and Branden Kline recorded the last out for his 18th save.
Logan Scott (1-2) took the loss in relief of Erik Johnson, who struggled for a third straight start.
Virginia was 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position through six scoreless innings.
The Cavaliers finally broke through after No. 9 hitter Keith Werman singled leading off the seventh and Chris Taylor walked, chasing Scott and bringing on closer Matt Flemer.
After John Barr moved the runners over with a sacrifice, Hicks sent a liner into center to score Werman before Proscia’s sacrifice fly.
Virginia added to the lead in the eighth on Jared King’s RBI triple and Werman’s run-scoring single.
Cal finished sixth in the Pac-10 and was a surprise CWS qualifier after the school administration threatened to drop the program next year. A $9 million fundraising effort saved the program.
Virginia is trying to win the Atlantic Coast Conference’s first national title in baseball since Wake Forest 56 years ago.
The Bears extended their at-bats against Hultzen, with six of their first 15 batters requiring six or more pitches.
Hultzen’s pitch count was deep into the 60s by the third inning, and he was out of the game in the seventh after his 113th pitch.
Wilson, used primarily as a starter this season, kept the shutout going until the ninth.
Cal’s Erik Johnson, tagged for 12 earned runs in 11 1-3 previous innings in the national tournament, struggled with his command and left after issuing his fourth and fifth walks to start the fourth inning.
Virginia threatened early, but couldn’t crack Cal. The Cavaliers had runners at the corners in the third when Cal first baseman Devon Rodriguez fielded a grounder and threw home, and catcher Chadd Krist ran Chris Taylor back down the third-base line and tagged him out.
In the fifth the Cavaliers had runners on first and second with one out, but Proscia and Hultzen flew out to left, with Austin Booker making a great running catch on Hultzen’s drive.
California was just 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position.