No. 23 NC State defeats No. 14 Virginia, 8-7

virginia baseballThe No. 14 Virginia baseball team lost to No. 23 NC State, 8-7, Friday night in the opener of a three-game ACC series at Davenport Field. UVA (17-10, 5-5 ACC) scored three runs in the eighth inning and had the potential go-ahead run at the plate in both the eighth and ninth innings before falling a run short.

“We had some missed opportunities, but I’m proud of our guys for fighting and battling,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “There’s a lot of fight in our guys and they don’t give up. But we did not do the things in the game that you need to do to beat a good club. We didn’t run the bases like you need to. We didn’t execute on the mound, with four-pitch walks and 0-2 pitches that are not where they need to be. You don’t beat a good club doing that, and they’ve got a good club and earned the win. We had a chance at the end, but didn’t do enough.”

Matt Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.) went 4-for-5, matching a career-high hit total, to highlight a 15-hit day for the UVA offense. Adam Haseley (So., Windermere, Fla.) added three hits. UVA left a season-high 13 runners on base. NC State (18-8, 4-4) finished with 10 hits in the game.

Virginia starter Connor Jones (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs (six earned), seven hits and three walks while striking out four. He took his first loss of the year, falling to 5-1. NC State reliever Austin Staley (1-1) earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief, while Tommy DeJuneas pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to claim his fifth save. Wolfpack starter Johnny Piedmonte worked three innings, giving up three earned runs, six hits and three walks.

The start of the game was delayed one hour, three minutes because of inclement weather.

NC State parlayed a leadoff walk in the first inning into a run when Preston Palmeiro grounded out to second base to score Stephen Pitarra from third base. The Wolfpack’s lead ballooned to 4-0 in the second inning on a two-out, bases-clearing triple to center field from Brock Deatherage.

UVA cut the NC State lead in half with two outs in the third inning. After Ryan Karstetter (Fr., State College, Pa.) and Nate Eikhoff (Fr., Bristow, Va.) reached on walks, Justin Novak (So., Tokyo, Japan) and Haseley hit back-to-back RBI singles to pull UVA within 4-2.

The Cavaliers used a two-out RBI single from Karstetter in the third to score Thaiss and cut the lead to 4-3, but NC State scored in the fourth on back-to-back doubles from Joe Dunand and Ryne Willard. The Wolfpack added a pair of runs in the fifth as Josh McLain lined a triple to center to score Andrew Knizner and then scored on a wild pitch.

UVA cut the lead to 7-4 in the sixth when Thaiss lined a double off the base of the left-center field wall to bring home Ernie Clement (So., Rochester, N.Y.). NC State added to its lead in the seventh inning on a two-out RBI infield single from McLain.

Pavin Smith (So., Jupiter, Fla.) hit a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning, and Daniel Pinero (Jr., Toronto, Ontario) followed with a two-run single to center to pull UVA to within 8-7. UVA got the tying run on base in the ninth when Haseley lined a double to left-center, but Clement hit a fly ball to center to end the three-hour, 55-minute game.

The teams continue the series at 4 p.m. Saturday, while the series finale is set for 1 p.m. Sunday. A live video broadcast is available for each game with a Cavaliers Live subscription on VirigniaSports.com. Links to live statistics (GameTracker) also can be found on VirginiaSports.com.


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