Mike Papi delivered the game-winning hit with a two-out, two-run single in the seventh inning, and the UVa. bullpen closed down Georgia Tech from there, in a 4-3 win by the top-ranked ‘Hoos Friday night in an ACC series opener in Charlottesville, Va.
Papi’s hit lifted VIrginia starter Nathan Kirby, who had a rare subpar start, going just five and two-thirds innings, giving up three runs on five hits, striking out four and walking two in throwing 101 pitches.
Virginia (39-9, 19-6 ACC) led early, getting a single run in the first on a two-out RBI single by Joe McCarthy that scored Papi and padding the lead in the fourth on an RBI single by Kenny Towns that plated McCarthy, who had led off the fourth with a double.
Virginia rallied in the seventh, getting a one-out walk to Towns followed up by a double to left by John LaPrise off Tech starter Josh Heddinger (3-3). Nate Irving struck out for the second out of the inning, but Papi ripped a 1-1 fastball from Georgia Tech reliever Sam Clay to clear the bases and give the ‘Hoos the 4-3 lead.
Whit Mayberry struck out the side in the top of the eighth, and the Cavs had a chance to add some insurance in the eighth, getting a one-out single by McCarthy, a two-out walk to Branden Cogswell and a passed ball to put two runners in scoring position, but brandon downes flied out to right to end that threat.
Nick Howard pitched around a leadoff walk to pick up his 16th save with a scoreless ninth.
Austin Young (1-0) retired all four batters that he faced in the sixth and seventh to pick up the win in relief.