Connor Jones pitched eight scoreless innings and Matt Thaiss hit a three-run home run to lead the No. 10 Virginia baseball team (10-4, 1-0 ACC) to a 6-0 victory against Duke (8-6, 0-1 ACC) Friday (March 11) in the teams’ ACC opener at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.
Jones (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) struck out three with no walks in eight innings of work to move to 3-0 on the season. All seven hits Jones surrendered came with two outs. Kevin Doherty (Sr., Laytonsville, Md.) pitched a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts to close out the game.
“It was great to see,” UVA head baseball coach Brian O’Connor said of Jones. “I thought he had command of everything tonight. He was efficient and fortunate to go eight innings in game one of the series, which obviously is important for us. They (Duke) did a nice job of battling with two strikes and putting the ball in play, but it certainly looked like he (Jones) had everything working tonight.”
The Cavaliers, who had the lead-off batter reach safely in seven of nine innings, opened the scoring in the fourth when Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.) led off with a four-pitch walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and came around to score on two-out single to right by Nate Eikhoff (Fr., Bristow, Va.).
Virginia broke open the game in the fourth with a two-out rally that started with singles by Adam Haseley (So., Windermere, Fla.) and Ernie Clement (So., Rochester, N.Y.). Up stepped Thaiss, who hit his second home run of the season to deep right and gave UVA a 4-0 lead.
Daniel Pinero (Jr., Toronto, Ontario) led off the sixth with a walk and scored on a sacrifice fly by Doak Dozier (Fr., Forth Worth, Texas) to bring the score to 5-0. Pinero scored again in the eighth on a single by Ryan Karstetter (Fr. State College, Pa.), who recorded three hits for the second-consecutive game.
Bailey Clark (2-1) took the loss for the Blue Devils after allowing five runs in 5.2 innings of work.
The two teams continue the series Saturday (March 12) at 1 p.m. at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.