#1 ‘Hoos stage dramatic rally to knock off #2 FSU
UVa. sports: www.virginiasports.com
Down five runs with one out in the ninth inning Saturday night, the Virginia baseball team staged an incredible rally and scored six times to shock Florida State, 9-8, at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. Keith Werman (So., Vienna, Va.) supplied the eventual game-winning hit – a two-out, bases-loaded single to left-center which scored John Hicks (So., Sandy Hook, Va.) and Reed Gragnani (Fr., Richmond, Va.).
With the victory, Virginia clinched its first-ever series win – home or away – against Florida State. UVa shut out the Seminoles, 5-0, Friday night.
The teams will play the final game of the series at 1 p.m. Sunday. The game will be televised live on Sun Sports, and the broadcast also will be picked up by Fox College Sports.
Dan Grovatt (Jr., Tabernacle, N.J.) was credited with his first career win (1-0) after pitching the eighth inning. Kevin Arico (Jr., Flemington, N.J.) tossed a scoreless ninth inning to notch his fifth save in as many tries.
Virginia starting pitcher Robert Morey (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) worked five innings, giving up five runs (three earned), seven hits and three walks while striking out six.
Florida State reliever Andrew Durden (0-1), the third of four FSU pitchers to take the mound in the ninth inning, took the loss after giving up a pair of runs and failing to retire any of the three batters he faced. FSU starter John Gast pitched four innings, allowing two earned runs, five hits and two walks with five strikeouts.
Virginia sent a dozen batters to the plate in its six-run ninth. The inning started when first baseman Jayce Boyd booted Werman’s sharp ground ball after a pitch from closer Daniel Bennett. One out later Cannon walked and Grovatt followed with a single to left to load the bases. Proscia followed with a run-scoring single. Bennett was lifted in favor of Tye Buckley, who uncorked a wild pitch on his first offering, scoring Cannon.
A Jarrett Parker (Jr., Stafford, Va.) groundout scored Grovatt and moved Proscia to third. Durden was brought in to face Hicks, who drew a walk. Gragnani ripped the next pitch back up the middle and off Durden’s leg for an infield single, scoring Proscia to cut the lead to 8-7.
Franco Valdes (Sr., Miami, Fla.) then fell behind 0-2 and was a strike away from ending the game, but he took four straight balls to draw a walk. FSU then brought on Tyler Everett to face Werman, who slapped a 2-1 pitch the other way into left-center to score Hicks and Gragnani and give the Cavaliers their first lead of the day, 9-8.
The comeback was reminiscent of one from the 2009 season, where UVa scored sixth in the ninth to rally and win at Georgia Tech, 11-10; in that game, Werman hit the go-ahead single to score Hicks.
Arico entered in the ninth and gave up a one-out single to Justin Gonzalez. Pinch hitter Sean Gilmartin then hit a grounder to Cannon at shortstop – he flipped to Werman for the force at second, but Werman’s throw to first slipped out of his hand and sailed well over Hicks at first. Gilmartin rounded first and started to head to second on the play, but threw on the brakes when the ball quickly bounced to Hicks, who threw the ball back to Werman, who then tossed it back to Valdes, who moved up from behind the plate to cover the bag and tagged out a sliding Gilmartin easily at first to end the game.