Augusta Free Press

UVA Baseball: ‘Hoos top UNC, 6-2, clinch spot in ACC Tournament

The UVA baseball team rolled to a series-clinching 6-2 win over North Carolina Friday night at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Cavaliers (32-19, 14-15 ACC) also sealed a berth in the 2015 ACC Baseball Championship and will play on Tuesday in a play-in game at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.

In winning its fifth game in last six since returning from the exam break, Virginia earned its third straight series win over the Tar Heels (32-21, 13-15), including its second straight in Chapel Hill. The Cavaliers go for the series sweep at noon Saturday in a game that will be televised by ESPNU. It also marks the regular-season finale for both teams.

“It was a huge win for us,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “I thought Brandon Waddell was terrific. Certainly we came right out of the gates and swung the bats really well to score five runs in the first two innings. We knew going into the last couple of weeks that we needed to play the best baseball we have all year. Winning the first two games here at North Carolina is a great accomplishment and we’re looking forward to coming back out tomorrow. ”

Virginia starting pitcher Brandon Waddell (Jr., Houston, Texas) worked seven shutout innings, allowing seven hits and four walks while striking out six. Waddell (3-4) and Josh Sborz (Jr., McLean, Va.), who worked the final two innings, combined to induce four double-play ground balls from Alex Raburn to aid their cause.

UNC starter J.B. Bukauskas (4-3) lasted just 1 1/3 innings, giving up five runs (four earned), five hits and one walk. The Tar Heels used six pitchers in the contest.

Eight of UVa’s starters combined for 11 hits, highlighted by two-hit games from Daniel Pinero (So., Toronto, Ontario), Pavin Smith (Fr., Jupiter, Fla.) and Kenny Towns (Sr., Burke, Va.). UNC finished with nine hits.

Virginia jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and knocked Bukauskas out of the game in the second inning. The Cavaliers scored three runs in the first inning. With one out and runners on the corners, Towns lined a double to left-center, scoring Pinero. After Matt Thaiss (So., Jackson, N.J.) came home on a wild pitch that also moved Towns to third, Smith hit a sacrifice fly to left field to give UVa a 3-0 edge.

The Cavaliers added two runs in the second inning. With one out and Joe McCarthy (Jr., Scranton, Pa.) on first base, Ernie Clement (Fr., Rochester, N.Y.) lined a single to right that Tyler Ramirez misplayed for a two-base error. The ball rolled to the wall, allowing McCarthy to come around to score and Clement to move to third. Clement then scored on a single by Adam Haseley (Fr., Windermere, Fla.) through the drawn-in infield, prompting a pitching change.

UVa added a run in the fifth inning on a two-out RBI single from Jack Gerstenmaier (Fr., Richmond, Va.), scoring Towns.

The Tar Heels broke up the shutout in the eighth inning on a two-run double to left field by Logan Warmoth.