#5 Virginia baseball thumps Georgia Tech, 8-2
Scott Silverstein (R-Sr., Olney, Md.) fired 8 2/3 innings of two-run baseball to lift the fifth-ranked Virginia baseball team to an 8-2 triumph over Georgia Tech Thursday in the 2013 ACC Baseball Championship at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.
The third-seeded Cavaliers (46-10) improved to 1-1 in the tournament and will play No. 2 seed Florida State at 11 a.m. Saturday in the final game in pool play. The winners of each pool advance to the championship game at 1 p.m. Sunday. Georgia Tech (34-24), the No. 7 seed, fell to 1-1 in pool play.
Silverstein (9-1) worked a career-long 8 2/3 innings and finished with the Cavaliers’ longest start since Branden Kline tossed a complete game on March 24, 2012, against Clemson. He allowed two earned runs, 10 hits and two walks while striking out six. Josh Sborz (Fr., McLean, Va.) got the final out to seal the victory.
Dusty Isaacs (4-7) took the loss for Georgia Tech after starting and surrendering six runs (five earned) and six hits in five-plus innings. He struck out six.
Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) and Kenny Towns (So., Burke, Va.) each homered and had two hits for Virginia, while Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.) also homered and scored twice. The Cavaliers finished with nine hits, with six going for extra bases.
Georgia Tech quickly scored the game’s first run, as leadoff hitter Kyle Wren tripled and Brandon Thomas followed with a single down the left-field line, although he was thrown out at second by Mike Papi (So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) as he attempted to stretch it to a double. That proved key when the next batter, Zane Evans, singled off the Blue Monster in left-center field.
Virginia scored a pair of runs in the third inning to take the lead for good. Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.) led off the inning with a double to right and was sacrificed over by John LaPrise (Fr., Exton, Pa.). Papi followed with a slow roller which shortstop which Mott Hyde booted as Irving scored. After Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) doubled, Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) hit a sacrifice fly to center to give the Cavaliers the lead.
UVa upped its lead to 4-1 in the fourth inning as Howard and Towns hit back-to-back solo home runs. It marked the first consecutive homers by Virginia since Stephen Bruno and Derek Fisher went back-to-back on May 11, 2012, also against Georgia Tech.
The Yellow Jackets pulled within 4-2 in the fifth inning on an A.J. Murray sacrifice fly, but the Cavaliers stretched the lead to 7-2 with three runs in the sixth. Downes led off the inning with a towering home run to left-center which landed on the roof of the next-door restaurant. The blast was his team-leading ninth home run of the year. Fisher then singled, prompting a pitching change as Joe Wiseman entered the game. Howard bunted Fisher to second and Towns ripped a single to right to put runners on the corners. Irving walked to load the bases, and LaPrise followed with a sac fly. Papi then cranked an RBI double to right-center to push the lead to 7-2.
UVa added a run in the seventh inning. Downes walked with one out, then stole second and moved to third on an errant throw by catcher Mitch Earnest. He scored on a two-out infield single by Howard.
The ACC’s Regional Sports Networks will broadcast the UVa-Florida State game Saturday (Comcast Mid-Atlantic in the Charlottesville area), while ESPN3 will provide a live webcast. Live audio will be available on VirginiaSports.com through a Cavaliers Live subscription. Live statistics also will be available on VirginiaSports.com.
WINA 1070-AM will have the live radio broadcast Saturday. Select stations across the Virginia Sports Radio Network also will pick up coverage during the tournament.