Derek Fisher (Jr., Rexmont, Pa.) hit a tiebreaking two-run double with two outs in the 10th inning to lift the No. 1-ranked UVa. baseball team to a 5-3 win at No. 4 Florida State Friday in the opener of a key three-game series at Dick Howser Stadium. Fisher hit three doubles in the victory as the Cavaliers (36-7, 17-5 ACC) came back from a two-run deficit.
John La Prise (So., Exton, Pa.) and Mike Papi (Jr., Tunkhannock, Pa.) homered for Virginia, while Branden Cogswell (Jr., Ballston Lake, N.Y.), Daniel Pinero (Fr., Toronto, Ontario) and Nick Howard (Jr., Olney, Md.) each recorded two hits.
UVa reliever Whit Mayberry (Sr., Alexandria, Va.) fired three scoreless innings and got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the ninth inning. He earned the win and improved to 4-0 on the year. Howard struck out the side in the 10th to nab his league-leading 14th save.
Virginia starting pitcher Nathan Kirby (So., Midlothian, Va.) worked six innings, giving up three earned runs, seven hits and a walk while striking out seven. Kirby recorded his 11th straight quality start this season (at least six innings pitched, three runs or fewer allowed); he entered the weekend as one of just four pitchers nationally to have 10 quality starts this year.
Florida State reliever Gage Smith (4-1) pitched two innings, allowing a run and two hits in taking the loss. Seminoles closer Jameis Winston allowed the go-ahead double in the 10th. FSU starter Luke Weaver pitched in the eighth inning in a no decision. He worked seven innings, allowing three earned runs and nine hits while striking out five.
The pitchers battled through four scoreless innings before Virginia used the long ball to grab a 1-0 lead as La Prise launched a blast over the high fence in right-center field. The home run was the first of La Prise’s career.
FSU promptly responded with three runs in its half of the fifth. After leadoff hitter John Sansone was hit by a pitch, Justin Gonzalez lined a run-scoring double off the top of the fence in right-center field. Ben DeLuzio beat out a bunt single before Kirby struck out Danny De La Calle. A wild pitch advanced DeLuzio, and Josh Delph then bounced a single through the hole on the left side of the infield, scoring both runners.
Virginia got a run back in the sixth. After Joe McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.) doubled and Howard singled to put runners on the corners with none out, Fisher grounded into a double play, with McCarthy scoring.
The Cavaliers tied the game in the eighth inning when Papi crushed a solo homer over the right-field fence, his team-leading eighth home run of the year.
FSU loaded the bases against Mayberry with one out in the ninth inning, but he struck out pinch hitter Ladson Montgomery and after going 3-0 to Delph, he pumped in a pair of strikes before inducing a ground out to second base.
Virginia moved ahead with a pair of runs in the 10th inning. Pinero led off with a single against Smith. Winston came on in relief and struck out Papi before McCarthy popped out. Howard then lined a single to center to keep the inning alive. Fisher worked the count full before lining a double off the fence in right-center, scoring both runners to give UVa a 5-3 lead. Howard then took the mound in the 10th and struck out the side to finish off the win.
The teams continue the series at 6 p.m. Saturday. ESPN3 will air the video broadcast, while a live audio broadcast will be available through a Cavaliers Live subscription on VirginiaSports.com. wina 1070-AM and WINA.com will carry the live radio broadcast. The Saturday game also will air across several stations along the Virginia Sports Radio Network: 1340-AM (Petersburg), 97.9 FM (Lynchburg), 94.3 FM (Staunton) and 1370 AM (Martinsville).