College World Series 2021: Texas Rallies vs. Virginia

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2021

Texas Zach Zubia (52) and Eric Kennedy (30), and Camryn Williams (55) and Mike Antico (5) give each other a high five celebrating their win over Virginia during a baseball game in the College World Series Thursday, June 24, 2021, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. (AP Photo/John Peterson)
John Peterson/Associated Press

Texas scored four runs over the final two innings to eliminate Virginia from the 2021 College World Series on Thursday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Longhorns grabbed an early 2-0 lead before the Cavaliers struck back in the bottom of the fifth with a game-tying two-run homer by Chris Newell. The game remained deadlocked until Ivan Melendez delivered an RBI single for UT in the eighth.

Texas added three more runs in the ninth courtesy of a bases-clearing double by Zach Zubia. Cole Quintanilla and Aaron Nixon slammed the door shut with a combined 3.1 scoreless innings of relief in the 6-2 win.

"Trusting yourself and your work—I think I showed that in my last at-bat," Zubia told reporters. "The first three were not the results any of us wanted. I was still grinding away and keeping my head down and taking each at-bat as new."

The Longhorns dropped their CWS opener against Mississippi State, but they've stormed back with wins over Tennessee and Virginia in the losers' bracket to reach the tournament semifinals. A rematch with the Bulldogs awaits Friday in the event's penultimate round.

"We're not going away," UT head coach David Pierce said. "This team is resilient. They can be ugly at times, and play unbelievable defense and pitch and are opportunistic offensively."

Meanwhile, Virginia opened the College World Series with a win over the Volunteers before dropping back-to-back games against Mississippi State and Texas to see its 2021 title hopes dashed.

"This is as special a team as we've had in this uniform at this university. ... What they persevered through and the resiliency in the last two weeks was remarkable," Cavs head coach Brian O'Connor said. "All the teams we have at Virginia are special in their own way, but this one is at the top."

Texas Baseball @TexasBaseball

On to the next one. #HookEm https://t.co/a2bAhkjgws

NC State and Vanderbilt kick off Friday's semifinal action at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Texas and Mississippi State will follow at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.

If either the Wolfpack or Bulldogs, the double-elimination tournament's last two unbeaten teams, win Friday they advance to the championship series. If they lose Friday, they will face off with the same opponent Saturday in a win-or-go-home matchup.

The three-game College World Series finals begin Monday with a national title on the line.