The top-ranked UVa. baseball team earned a series win over Pittsburgh with a 3-0 victory on Sunday afternoon at Charles L. Cost Field in Pittsburgh. Virginia (27-5, 12-3 ACC) allowed just two runs in the series in taking two of three games as it captured its eighth straight series win of the year.
“I’m really proud of our club,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We had a difficult loss yesterday after an exciting win Friday and to come back on the road and win the series is huge. We’ve had three road series in the league this year and we won each of them, and that speaks to the character of this team. We didn’t hang our heads after yesterday we did enough to win. Brandon Waddell was magnificent today. That was as efficient of an eight innings as you will see.”
Waddell (So., Houston, Texas) pitched a career-long eight innings, allowed two hits and did not walk a batter. Waddell (4-1) struck out three and needed just 71 pitches. Nick Howard (Jr., Olney, Md.) recorded his ninth save of the year with a perfect ninth inning. The two combined to face just one batter over the minimum and retired the final 15 batters as Pitt had just two baserunners in the game.
Virginia received three impressive starts during the series from its rotation – Nathan Kirby (So., Midlothian, Va.), Josh Sborz (So., McLean, Va.) and Waddell – which combined to allow one run in 22 1/3 innings (0.40 ERA). The trio gave up five hits and four walks while striking out 26.
In allowing just two runs in the series, Virginia surrendered its fewest runs ever in an ACC road series and matched the fewest runs it has given up in any three-game ACC series. UVa allowed two runs in a home series against Maryland from April 27-29, 2008. The previous UVa low for runs allowed in an ACC road series was five: April 29-May 1, 2011, at Boston College, April 20-22, 2007, at Clemson and April 28-30, 2006, at Maryland.
Mike Papi (Jr., Tunkhannock, Pa.) and John La Prise (So., Exton, Pa.) each went 2-for-4 to pace the Cavaliers’ offense. Out of the nine-hole in the batting order, La Prise posted a team-high five hits over the weekend.
Pitt starting pitcher Matt Wotherspoon (3-4) worked seven strong innings, allowing just a run, four hits and two walks while striking out six in taking the hard-luck loss.
Virginia scored in the fourth inning as Papi doubled high off the right-field wall and scored one out later on a Howard single to left.
The Cavaliers tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth inning against Pitt closer Hobie Harris, snapping his 13 1/3-inning scoreless streak. Joe McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.) drew a leadoff walk, advanced on a Howard sacrifice bunt and scored when Brandon Downes (Jr., South Plainfield, N.J.) doubled to right-center. One out later, La Prise grounded a single into center field off reliever Jon Danielczyk to bring Downes home.
The Cavaliers travel to James Madison Tuesday for a 6 p.m. contest before returning home next weekend (April 11-13) for a three-game series against No. 15 Clemson. Fans are advised to arrive early Tuesday as JMU officials are anticipating an overflow crowd.