#1 and done: UVa. baseball drops season opener to Kentucky, 8-3
The top-ranked UVa. baseball team opened the 2014 season Friday afternoon with an 8-3 loss to Kentucky in the Hughes Bros. Challenge in Wilmington, N.C. UK used a four-run fourth inning to rally from an early deficit in earning the season-opening victory.
The Cavaliers had baserunners in every inning but were limited to five hits while leaving 11 runners on base, including six in scoring position. UVa was 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Virginia starting pitcher Brandon Waddell (So., Houston, Texas) worked 4 1/3 innings, allowing six earned runs, seven hits and one walk while striking out seven as he took the loss. Kentucky starter A.J. Reed worked five innings, giving up a run, three hits and three walks with a pair of strikeouts as he earned the win.
Virginia struck first in the second inning when Kenny Towns (Jr., Burke, Va.) grounded out to shortstop to score Derek Fisher (Jr., Rexmont, Pa.), who had singled to left to lead off the inning. Nick Howard (Jr., Olney, Md.) doubled to right-center to move Fisher to third and put him in scoring position.
UVa had opportunities to add to the lead but stranded a pair of runners in the fourth and fifth innings. In contrast, Kentucky took advantage of its scoring opportunities, beginning in the fourth inning when the Wildcats sent eight men to the plate in scoring four times. Max Kuhn and Reed hit back-to-back doubles to start the inning and tie the game. A Matt Reida groundout tied the game with two outs, and freshmen JaVon Shelby and Connor Heady followed with a run-scoring single and double, respectively, to give the Wildcats a 4-1 edge.
The Wildcats poured it on in the fifth inning, scoring two more runs. Kuhn hit an RBI double off Waddell and Thomas Bernal singled one out later off reliever Connor Jones (Fr., Chesapeake, Va.).
UK tacked on a run in the seventh, getting a two-out single from Bernal followed by an RBI double from Thomas, and added a final tally in the eighth on Kyle Barrett RBI single off Cameron Tekker (So., Waxhaw, N.C.).
UVa cut a pair of runs from the lead with a two-out rally in the ninth inning as Mike Papi (Jr., Tunkhannock, Pa.) singled, Joe McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.) was hit by a pitch and Brandon Downes (Jr., South Plainfield, N.J.) stroked a two-run double.
Virginia is back in action at noon Saturday against VMI. The Cavaliers conclude their weekend against the tournament’s host school, UNC Wilmington, at 2 p.m. Sunday. Live audio broadcasts of for both contests will be available through a Cavaliers Live subscription on VirginiaSports.com and through the virginia sports app. Live statistics also will be available on VirginiaSports.com.