#4 UVa. wins 9-1, takes series from #2 Georgia Tech
Edited by Chris Graham
Behind a strong pitching performance, the #4 Virginia baseball team earned a series win by stifling #2 Georgia Tech’s potent offense in a 9-1 victory Sunday at Davenport Field. The Cavaliers won the series, two games to one, and finished off their fourth series win over a ranked opponent this season.
A crowd of 4,205 came out for the matinee as Virginia set a three-game series attendance record of 12,579, breaking the previous school record of 9,642, set earlier this season for a series against Boston College.
Virginia (27-7, 10-5 ACC) got a strong starting pitching performance from Cody Winiarski (Jr., Franksville, Wis.), who pitched 5.1 innings, allowing one earned run, five hits and one walk while striking out three as he improved to 4-0 on the season. Tyler Wilson (Jr., Midlothian, Va.) struck out five in 2.2 scoreless innings before Kevin Arico (Jr., Flemington, N.J.) tossed the ninth inning to finish off the Yellow Jackets (27-5, 12-3) and hand them their first series loss this season.
Georgia Tech starting pitcher Jed Bradley (4-2) took the loss and worked 5.2 innings, giving up six runs (four earned), eight hits, two walks and four strikeouts.
Four Virginia players had two hits as UVa racked up a dozen hits. The bottom third of the batting order – Jarrett Parker (Jr., Stafford, Va.), Franco Valdes (Sr., Miami, Fla.) and John Barr (Jr., Ivyland, Pa.) each posted two hits, two runs and an RBI as they combined to go 6-for-10. Stephen Bruno (Fr., Audubon, N.J.) picked up a two-run single in the eighth inning to stretch his hitting streak to 14 games.
Virginia jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Dan Grovatt (Jr., Tabernacle, N.J.) led off with a single to right-center and stole second. John Hicks (So., Sandy Hook, Va.) then grounded to short and moved to second when Grovatt got into an extended rundown. Parker singled to center to score Hicks, and Valdes doubled to right-center to plate Parker. Barr followed with a grounder to shortstop Derek Dietrich, but the throw pulled Tony Plagman off first base for an error. Phil Gosselin (Jr., West Chester, Pa.) then hit a sacrifice fly to left-center to give UVa a 3-0 lead.
Georgia Tech had a key scoring opportunity in the fifth inning, putting runners at second and third with one out on a Thomas Nichols double. Winiarski buckled down though to get Jacob Esch to foul out to short right field and Brandon Thomas to fly out to short left field.
The Yellow Jackets broke through against Winiarski in the sixth inning on a one-out solo home run by Dietrich to right-center. Winiarski then hit Tony Plagman with a pitch, prompting UVa to bring Wilson into the game in relief. Wilson struck out Cole Leonida before Matt Skole singled to right. Wilson then fanned Chase Burnette on a high fastball to end the threat.
Virginia stretched its lead with three runs in the bottom of the sixth. With one out Hicks singled up the middle on an 0-2 pitch and moved to second on a Parker single. After Valdes struck out swinging, Barr singled to right to plate Hicks. Georgia Tech went to its bullpen with right-hander Patrick Long, who promptly gave up a single to Gosselin to score Parker. Cannon then hit a grounder to Plagman at first base, but the ball bounced over his glove for an error to score Barr and when the ball went under Esch’s glove at second base for another error, both runners advanced a base.
UVa added three insurance runs in the eighth inning. Valdes led off with a single off Luke Bard and moved to second when Barr walked. Gosselin then singled up the middle to score Valdes to push the lead to 7-1. Zach Brewster entered in relief and walked Tyler Cannon (Sr., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) to load the bases before giving up a two-run single to Bruno for the final two runs of the contest.
The Cavaliers hit the road Wednesday for a 6 p.m. contest at VMI, which is ranked No. 29 nationally by Collegiate Baseball. UVa returns to Davenport Field next weekend for a three-game ACC series with Virginia Tech, which is ranked No. 25 in the latest Baseball America poll.