#7 Virginia baseball rolls past VCU, 11-3

uva-logo-new2The seventh-ranked Virginia baseball team knocked off VCU, 11-3, Tuesday evening in front of 4,104 fans at The Diamond in Richmond, Va. In a game that was played in a steady mist throughout the night, the Cavaliers (39-8) recorded 14 hits while eight of their nine position starters earned at least one hit.

Mike Papi (So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) went 3-for-3 and reached base safely in all six of his plate appearances; he entered the game ranked second nationally in on-base percentage (.523). Branden Cogswell (So., Ballston, Lake, N.Y.) was 2-for-4 and scored three times, while Jared King (R-Sr., Radford, Va.), Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.) and Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) each had two hits.

Virginia pitchers did not allow an earned run. Starter Nathan Kirby (Fr., Midlothian, Va.) worked two scoreless innings and allowed just a walk to earn the win and improve to 3-1. Josh Sborz (Fr., McLean, Va.), David Rosenberger (Fr., Bethlehem, Pa.), Whit Mayberry (R-Jr., Alexandria, Va.) and Brett Lisle (R-Fr., Highlands Ranch, Colo.) combined to limit VCU (21-22) to four hits and no walks over the final seven innings. Lisle made his UVa debut by tossing a scoreless ninth inning.

VCU starting pitcher Dan Black (0-2) took the loss after allowing five earned runs and seven hits in two-plus innings.

Virginia took a 2-0 in the second inning. Downes and Papi led off with consecutive singles to put runners on the corners with none out. One out later Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) grounded out to bring in a run, and Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) ripped a single to center to score Papi.

UVa sent eight batters to the plate in adding three runs in the third inning. Cogswell cranked a double to lead off, and Jared King singled him home. McCarthy and Downes hit back-to-back singles to load the bases. Reliever Logan Kanuik came into the game and walked Papi to force in a run and two batters later, Howard hit a sacrifice fly to bring McCarthy home.

Ten Virginia batters went the plate as UVa scored four runs in the sixth inning. The first seven reached base safely, while the first four singled. A single by McCarthy capped the run and knocked in a pair of runs. Papi and Fisher added run-scoring singles later in the inning to push the UVa advantage to 9-0.

VCU trimmed three runs from the lead in the seventh inning while taking advantage of a UVa error. With one out Joey Cujas grounded a single off the outstretched glove of Gragnani for a single. On a grounder to second where Cujas deftly shielded the play, the ball went right through Gragnani’s wickets for an error, allowing Cujas to move to third. Vimael Machin grounded out to score a run, and Taylor Buran and Brent Mikionis followed with RBI singles to cut the lead to 9-3.

UVa added a run in the eighth inning. Papi led off with a single, stole second, advanced on a Kenny Towns (So., Burke, Va.) sacrifice and scored on a Gragnani groundout. The Cavaliers tacked on their final run in the ninth on a Downes sacrifice fly to score Cogswell.

After a nine-day break for final exams, Virginia returns to the field May 10-12 against Duke at Davenport Field. UVa then plays host to VCU on May 14 before wrapping up the regular season May 16-18 at top-ranked North Carolina.


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