The No. 1-ranked UVa. baseball team earned another ACC series win with a 4-3 victory at No. 4 Florida State Sunday afternoon at Dick Howser Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla. The Cavaliers (37-8, 18-6) took two of three games in the series to notch their 10th straight ACC series win, dating to 2013.
Virginia also handed Florida State (33-11, 17-7 ACC) its first home ACC series defeat since May 2011 against Clemson, snapping a streak of 13 straight home ACC series victories for the Seminoles. UVa won just its second series ever in Tallahassee (2010).
Pitching and defense, combined with timely hitting, proved to be the difference once again for UVa. The Cavaliers limited FSU to four hits while playing their third straight errorless game of the weekend.
Virginia starting pitcher Brandon Waddell (So., Houston, Texas) had another outstanding outing, going seven innings and allowing just two earned runs, three hits and one walk. Waddell (6-2) struck out four in his ninth straight start of at least six innings. He issued a leadoff walk to John Nogowski in the fourth inning, snapping his streaks of 33 1/3 consecutive innings without a walk and 37 2/3 straight innings without an unintentional walk.
Nick Howard (Jr., Olney, Md.) came into a bases-loaded, two-out situation in the eighth inning and struck out the final four Seminole batters to record his ACC-leading 15th save of the season.
Mike Papi (Jr., Tunkhannock, Pa.) had a pair of two-out hits and drove in three runs for Virginia. Nate Irving (Jr., Yonkers, N.Y.) added two hits, and Kenny Towns (Jr., Burke, Va.) swatted a solo home run.
Florida State starting pitcher Bryant Holtmann (5-1) worked 3 1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs, four hits and two walks before leaving the game with an apparent injury. Peter Miller came on in emergency relief and pitched three innings, allowing one run.
Virginia took a 3-0 lead in the third inning. With one out Towns launched a solo home run over the wall in left-center field for his second homer of the year. Irving followed with an infield single, and with two outs, Papi lined a double into the right-field corner, scoring a pair of runs.
FSU responded with two runs in its half of the third on a two-run home run to left-center by John Sansone, his second long ball of the year.
The Cavaliers added a run in the seventh inning. Towns drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on an Irving sacrifice. Billy Strode entered in relief, and Towns alertly stole third. Strode struck out Branden Cogswell (Jr., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) but walked Daniel Pinero (Fr., Toronto, Ontario) on a 3-2 pitch. Papi then went the other way and slapped a single to left to score Towns.
FSU scored a run in the eighth against reliever Connor Jones (Fr., Chesapeake, Va.). DeLuzio hit a leadoff single to center and after pinch hitter Casey Smith walked, Jameis Winston laid down a sacrifice bunt. Jones intentionally walked DJ Stewart to load the bases and struck out Sansone for the second out but then walked Nogowski to force in a run. Howard entered the game and struck out Jose Brizuela on a ball in the dirt to end the threat.
The Cavaliers travel to Norfolk, Va., on Tuesday for non-conference matchup with Old Dominion. The 7 p.m. contest will be played at Harbor Park, which is home of the Norfolk Tides, the triple-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.