No. 10 Virginia (12-5) pounded out 14 hits in a 4-3 triumph over the visiting Towson Tigers (3-11) at Davenport Field on Tuesday afternoon. Eight of UVA’s nine starters recorded hits, while five Cavaliers enjoyed multi-hit games.
Virginia dented the scoreboard first. The Cavaliers scored two runs on three hits in the home half of the first inning. With one out Ernie Clement (So., Rochester, N.Y.) singled to left field and advanced to third on a base hit up the middle by Matt Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.). Pavin Smith (So., Jupiter, Fla.) followed with a sacrifice fly that went to deep left field, scoring Clement. Thaiss advanced to second on a wild pitch from Towson starter Matt Allen. Daniel Pinero (Jr., Toronto, Ontario) capitalized on the miscue and ripped a double down the left field line, scoring Thaiss.
The Tigers cut their deficit in half, scoring one run in the top of the second inning. With one out the Tigers’ left fielder Cuinn Mullins reached first base on an error by Pinero at short. After Jay Sanford flied out to right field, Tristan Howerton doubled down the left field line, plating Mullins. UVA starter, Adam Haseley (So., Windermere, Fla.) worked his way out of the jam after inducing Richie Palacios into a groundout to Smith at first base.
Towson pulled even with the Cavaliers, 2-2, with a run in the top of the fourth inning. Sanford singled with one out in the frame and then appeared to be subsequently picked off by Haseley, however he jetted for second when the throw went to first base. Smith’s throw to second base went just wide enough to pull Justin Novak (So., Tokyo, Japan) off the bag at second and turning a sure out into an error. After Howerton struck out swinging, Palacios singled to center field to score Sanford, the second of two unearned runs given up by Haseley.
The Cavaliers retook the lead in the home half of the fifth inning when Ryan Karstetter (Fr., State College, Pa.) smacked a double to right center field, scoring Pinero who reached two pitches before on a single up the middle. Virginia added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning, taking a 4-2 lead. Andy Weber (Fr., Aurora, Ohio) collected his third of the game to lead off the home half of the eighth. He advanced to second on the Novak sacrifice bunt. Haseley helped his own caused with a single to center field, plating Weber.
Alec Bettinger (Jr., Woodbridge, Va.), who picked up his fifth save of the season, entered the game to secure the last out of the eighth after Kevin Doherty (Sr., Laytonsville, Md.) went 2.0 innings of no hit ball. In the ninth Bettinger made quick work of the first two batters, getting Palacios to strike out and Colin Gimblet to ground out back to the mound. Towson tried to mount a two-out rally in the ninth when Brady Policelli singled up the middle to get things started. Chris Henze followed with a walk. A.J. Gallo singed up the middle to score Policelli, cutting the Towson deficit to 4-3. With runners on first and second and two outs, Bettinger forced Colin Dyer to ground out to short to end the game.
“It’s never going to go exactly how you would draw it up,” said Virginia baseball head coach Brian O’Connor on Bettinger’s 1.1 innings of work. “What I was proud of was the game is on the line and he stepped up and made big pitches there. He got us out of the eighth. He got two outs, nobody on, and they did a nice job of battling and didn’t go away. Then he had the walk. It proved that the insurance run in the eight was huge for us, to give us that one-run cushion.”
On the mound Haseley worked 5.2 innings, scattering six hits and yielded two unearned runs. He picked up his fourth win of the year, improving to 4-0. Haseley also struck out four and walked two. At the plate he was 1-for-3, walked twice and drove in the crucial RBI in the eighth inning. Weber (three) Clement (two), Thaiss (two), Pinero (two) and Karstetter (two) all produced multi-hit games for the Cavaliers.
Skyler Morris earned the loss for Towson, falling to 0-1 on the season. Morris went 3.0 innings, allowed four hits, one run and walked one Cavalier. He came on in relief of starter Matt Allen who went 3.0 innings, yielded seven hits and two runs.
Virginia returns to action tomorrow with the conclusion of the mid-week series with Towson. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.