augusta free press news

#1 UVa. falls as pen blows late leads

Edited by Chris Graham

Matt Bergquist hit a walkoff single in the 11th inning to lift NC State to a 6-5 win over the No. 1-ranked Virginia baseball team Friday evening at Doak Field at Dail Park in Raleigh, N.C. Virginia had two-run leads in the eighth and ninth innings but in each instance gave up a two-run home run as the Wolfpack forced extra innings.

Virginia’s Neal Davis (Sr., Baltimore, Md.), the fourth of five UVa pitchers, was tagged with the loss and fell to 2-1. John Lambert (3-0) earned the win for NC State after getting the final out in the top of the 11th.

The game was relatively uneventful until the final three innings. Both starting pitchers pitched extremely well. Virginia starter Danny Hultzen (So., Bethesda, Md.) worked six innings and pitched to the first two batters in the seventh inning before being lifted. He gave up one earned run, two hits and two walks and struck out six. After a slow start, he retired 17 straight batters from the first to the seventh innings.

NC State starting pitcher Jake Buchanan fired 6.2 innings, allowing three earned runs, nine hits and one walk while striking out seven.

Trailing 3-1, NC State (17-9, 4-6 ACC) started a wild sequence of events in the bottom of the eighth against UVa reliever Tyler Wilson (Jr., Midlothian,Va.). Pinch hitter John Gianis led off with a double high off the left-field wall and Drew Poulk followed with a home run to deep left-center field.

Virginia (22-5, 7-3) wasted no time in taking the lead right back, as Tyler Cannon (Sr., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) doubled to right-center on Rob Chamra’s first pitch of the ninth inning. John Hicks (So., Sandy Hook, Va.) then laid down a good sacrifice bunt in front of the plate, and Chamra, in throwing to first, fired it errantly and down the right-field line, scoring Cannon easily and moving Hicks to second. Franco Valdes (Sr., Miami, Fla.) then advanced Hicks with a groundout and Stephen Bruno (Fr., Audubon, N.J.) cranked a single to left to score the run and give UVa a 5-3 lead.

The Wolfpack used the long ball to rally once again in the ninth. Danny Canela led off with a double against UVa closer Kevin Arico (Jr., Flemington, N.J.), and Dallas Poulk followed with a home run to right field to tie the game. Arico rebounded to strike out the side to send the game to extra innings, but he suffered his first blown save in 10 opportunities this season.

Arico got the first out in the 11th inning before Davis came in and surrendered a single to Canella, who was replaced by pinch runner Mike Clark. After Dallas Poulk hit a fly ball in which Dan Grovatt (Jr., Tabernacle, N.J.) made a diving catch, Tarran Senay doubled into the right-field corner to move Clark to third. Justin Thompson (So., Danville, Va.) entered to pitch to Bergquist, who slapped a 1-2 pitch to right-center for the game-winning hit.

The teams are back at Doak Field for game two of the series at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.