The No. 3-ranked UVa. baseball team clubbed 15 hits in the Cavaliers’ 14-4 win over the visiting Princeton Tigers (3-9) at Davenport Field on Thursday afternoon. Robbie Coman and Nick Howard each drove in four runs in a game that was an addition to UVa’s (17-3) schedule after Tuesday’s contest with Rutgers was canceled due to inclement weather.
Princeton jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. Alec Keller started things off with a double down the left field line. Billy Arendt followed with a double down the right field line to score Keller. Danny Hoy followed with a single to right field, advancing Arendt to third base. With runners on the corners and no outs, starting UVa pitcher Alec Bettinger (Fr., Woodbridge, Va.) worked out the jam to escape any more damage. The freshman hurler, making his first collegiate start, forced cleanup hitter Nick Hernandez to hit a shallow fly ball to left field for the inning’s first out. Paul Tupper struck out looking and the threat was thwarted when Zack Belski flied out to left field to end the frame.
Virginia answered back with two runs in the bottom of the first, taking a 2-1 lead. Branden Cogswell (Jr., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) led the frame off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a pass ball by the Princeton catcher Tyler Servais. Cogswell advanced to third when Daniel Pinero (Fr., Toronto, Ontario) grounded out to second base. Mike Papi (Jr., Tunkhannock, Pa.) followed with an RBI single, plating Cogswell to tie the game at 1-1. Papi stole second base and advanced to third when Servais couldn’t receive the pitch offering cleanly. Howard (Jr., Olney, Md.) rocked the next pitch for a double to right field, scoring Papi.
The Cavaliers broke open the game in the bottom of the second with four hits and six runs to take an 8-1 lead. Papi and Howard hit back-to-back two-run doubles to pace the UVa hit attack in the frame. The Cavaliers put another run on the scoreboard in the fourth inning to advance the advantage to 9-1.
The Tigers scored in the top of the fourth, cutting their deficit to seven runs, 9-2, when Tupper scored on an infield fly. With the bases loaded, Will Davis hit a high pop up between the mound and home plate. Home plate umpire Greg Walls called an infield fly, which was an automatic out on Davis. The wind whipped the ball around and it fell safely between catcher Coman (So., Lake Worth, Fla.) and Bettinger. Coman tagged home plate, but not Tupper and the run scored safely.
UVa scored five runs on five hits in the fifth to take a 14-2 lead. The big blow in the frame was a bases loaded double by Coman that cleared the bases, scoring McCarthy, Matt Thaiss (Fr., Jackson, N.J.) and Papi. Princeton pushed two runs across in the top of the seventh to finish the game’s scoring.
Bettinger picked up his first career win in his first start, doing 4.0 innings of work, yielding two runs on five hits, while striking out four Tigers. Four Cavalier relievers pitched the game’s final 5.0 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, while striking out four more Princeton hitters. Princeton starter Tyler Foote earned the loss and his record falls to 0-2.
Coman and Howard led the way with three hits and four RBI apiece. Papi added two hits and three RBI, while Cogswell stole three bases and scored four runs to help pace the UVa offensive attack. Keller led Princeton with three hits and scored two runs in four at bats.
UVa travels to Miami this weekend (March 22-24) for a three-game ACC series. The Saturday, March 22 and Sunday March 23 games are on ESPN3. The Monday, March 24 game will be televised live on ESPNU.