No. 12 UVA knocks off VCU, 9-4

uva baseballThe No. 12 UVA baseball team scored five runs in the seventh inning to break a 4-4 deadlock on its way to a 9-4 victory over VCU Tuesday evening at Davenport Field. Virginia (27-8) won its sixth straight game, while snapping VCU’s three-game win streak as UVA swept the home-and-home season series with the Rams (19-14).

“I thought tonight was a fantastic win for us,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We had a challenging week last week with five games, and I was a little concerned about how we would come out and play tonight because I knew VCU is a quality team. They’ve been playing very well of late. It was a tight game there through six innings and we were fortunate in the seventh inning to take advantage of some opportunities, and we had some guys get some clutch hits for a big five-run inning.

“We pieced it together pretty well through the back half of the game with Chesdin Harrington and Bennett Sousa, and I thought both of those guys did a really nice job. That’s a good, quality two wins for us against a good club.”

Cameron Simmons (So., Royersford, Pa.) hit the tie-breaking, two-run double in the seventh inning and also cranked a two-run homer. Pavin Smith (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) tied a career high with four hits, while Robbie Coman (Gr., Lake Worth, Fla.) added three hits as UVA racked up 14 hits in the game.

Virginia relievers Chesdin Harrington (So., Montpelier, Va.) and Bennett Sousa (Jr., North Palm Beach, Fla.) shut VCU down over the final 3 2/3 innings, allowing just one hit and one walk. Harrington (3-1) earned the win with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, while Sousa retired the final six batters of the game in order. UVA starter Daniel Lynch (So., Henrico, Va.) allowed three runs (two earned) over five innings.

VCU reliever Matt Jamer (0-1) took the loss after allowing four runs in the seventh. Starter Jonathan Ebersole worked two innings and gave up two runs.

UVA got key two-out hits for each of its first four runs. Simmons hit a two-out, two-run homer over the bleachers in left-center field in the second inning to give UVA the early lead. It was his third home run of the year.

VCU scored an unearned run in the third inning on a Daane Berezo sac fly, but UVA countered in the bottom of the inning with three straight two-out singles from Adam Haseley (Jr., Windermere, Fla.), Smith and Coman for a 3-1 lead.

The Rams tied the game in the fourth when Darian Carpenter lined a double to left-center to score Paul Witt, but UVA again responded the following half-inning when Clement hit a two-out single to center to bring home Justin Novak (Jr., Tokyo, Japan).

VCU tied the game once again in the sixth when Zac Ching ripped Harrington’s first pitch to left field for a double, bringing home Mitchel Lacey and putting runners at second and third with one out. Harrington got out of the jam by striking out Haiden Lamb and getting Josh Simon to hit a routine fly ball to center.

UVA sent 10 batters to the plate in the seventh inning while scoring five times. The Cavaliers loaded the bases with one out, and on a 1-2 pitch, Simmons went the other way and smacked a double to right to bring home Haseley and Smith. Facing reliever Ryan Fox, Novak lined a double down the left-field line to score Caleb Knight (Jr., Checotah, Okla.) and Simmons, and Jake McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.) singled on the next pitch to plate Novak.

Virginia heads to Blacksburg, Va., Thursday through Saturday (April 13-15) to play Virginia Tech in a three-game ACC series.

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