The Bulldogs almost learned that in excruciating fashion in the ninth, even with closer Jonathan Holder on the mound.
Holder came into the game with eye-popping numbers — a 1.17 earned run average and 81 strikeouts in 46 innings — but gave up a leadoff single to Kenny Towns and walked Mike Papi with one out. Jared King struck out looking for the second out, but Joe McCarthy hit a soft grounder to third and just beat the throw as a run scored. Brandon Downed then grounded to first, and Rea picked it up and tried to flip it to Holder covering, but Holder took his eyes off the play, slipped and missed the ball, the crowd going wild as it trickled into the Virginia dugout with the score now 6-5.
But with runners on third and second, Holder got Derek Fisher to bounce to third for the final out.
In the seventh, Hunter Renfroe doubled inside the first base bag and Joe McCarthy misplayed the ball, allowing Renfroe to take third. Virginia walked Rea intentionally, and Renfroe scored when C.T. Bradford hit a sinking line drive that it looked like McCarthy would catch, but which bounced behind him.
"It just felt like in the two-game series, you couldn't get them out," O'Connor said.
Girodo (8-1) got the victory and Virginia starter Scott Silverstein (10-2) took the loss. Holder earned his 18th save.