#13 UVA defeats Liberty, 7-3, heads into exam break

virginia baseballThe No. 13 UVA baseball team downed Liberty, 7-3, Tuesday evening in front of a Liberty Baseball Stadium-record crowd of 4,024. Virginia (31-17) scored its sixth straight win and completed its eight-game road trip – the program’s longest since 1999 – with a 7-1 record as it enters the finals break.

“We talked to the team before this eight-game road stretch had the potential to define us, and the guys really stepped up to win seven of eight games on the road,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “You just don’t see that. We’re playing some really good baseball. Now the challenge is to get our work in over the break and come out of the break playing great baseball as well.”

Virginia’s bullpen allowed just three hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings. Tyler Shambora (Jr., Venice, Fla.) fired 4 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up just three hits while striking out three. He earned the win to improve to 5-0 this season.

UVA starter Bennett Sousa (So., North Palm Beach, Fla.) worked 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned), four hits and two walks while striking out one. Starter Zander Clouse (3-2) took the loss for Liberty (22-23) after allowing five runs (four earned), six hits and a walk over four innings.

Cameron Simmons (Fr., Royersford, Pa.) doubled twice and scored three runs to lead a 12-hit UVA attack. Pavin Smith (So., Jupiter, Fla.) and Nate Eikhoff (Fr., Bristow, Va.) each added a pair of hits.

Virginia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Adam Haseley (So., Windermere, Fla.) crushed a long home run to right field, his fifth blast of the year. Liberty answered in its half of the inning on a two-out, two-run triple to left-center from Jack Morris.

UVA knotted the score in the third as Simmons hit a leadoff double and came home on a Justin Novak (So., Tokyo, Japan) single, but Liberty countered in the bottom of the inning on an RBI infield single from Payton Scarbrough.

Virginia moved back ahead with a four-run fifth inning. With runners on first and second and none out, Andy Weber (Fr., Aurora, Ohio) laid down a sacrifice bunt, which was thrown away by Clouse, allowing Simmons to score. Jack DeGroat entered the game and intentionally walked Matt Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.) to load the bases, but Smith lined a single to right to score a pair. An out later, Haseley chopped a grounder to shortstop to bring home Thaiss and give UVA a 6-3 edge.

The Cavaliers added a run in the eighth inning on a two-out Weber single to left-center to bring Simmons home.

Virginia heads into a nine-day break for final exams. The Cavaliers return to action May 13-15 with a home ACC series against No. 22 Georgia Tech.

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