Nathan Kirby gave up just one hit as the Virginia baseball team improved to 2-0 in the NCAA Regional with a 3-0 win over Arkansas on Saturday night at Davenport Field.
The Cavaliers' sophomore ace earned the win, finishing with nine strikeouts in eight innings of work. Nick Howard earned his 19th save of the season, tying an Atlantic Coast Conference record.
Mike Papi hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first and scored UVa's third run in the second inning, going 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Sophomore Joe McCarthy and junior third baseman Kenny Towns added two hits each for the Cavaliers.
UVa next plays on Sunday night at 8 p.m., hosting the winner of the 1 p.m. elimination matchup between Arkansas and Bucknell. A seventh game, if necessary, to determine the Charlottesville Regional champion is scheduled for Monday at 7 p.m.
Arkansas starting pitcher Trey Killian took the loss, working 3.1 innings before leaving the game with a blister. Killian allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits with a walk and a strikeout. Dominic Taccolini pitched 4.2 shutout innings in relief of Killian, giving up two hits, striking out four, and walking one.
A win on Sunday night would give the Cavaliers their fifth NCAA Super Regional appearance in the last six years. UVa is now 20-14 in regional home games and 35-29 overall in NCAA Tournament games.
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