Perfection: Roberts tosses perfect game in #1 UVa. win

Will Roberts (Jr., Richmond, Va.) recorded the eighth nine-inning perfect game in NCAA Division I baseball (since 1957) to lead the top-ranked Virginia baseball team to a 2-0 victory over George Washington Wednesday at Davenport Field. Roberts recorded 27 straight outs and needed just 98 pitches to earn the second perfect game in ACC history.

It is the 19th perfect game of any length in NCAA Division I history, the first for any pitcher in Division I since 2002 and the first in the Virginia annals. Lost in the shuffle – it also was the 2,000th victory in UVa program history.

Roberts tossed nine perfect innings and tied his career high with 10 strikeouts. It was the first complete game of Roberts’ career; his previous career high was 7.2 innings, set earlier this season against Niagara.

Roberts is just the second ACC pitcher to notch a perfect game. Maryland’s Dick Reitz posted the only other perfect game since 1957 on April 10, 1959, against Johns Hopkins. It marks the first perfect game in Division I baseball since March 2, 2002, when Auburn’s Eric Brandon recorded 27 straight outs in a perfect game against Murray State.

It is the first no-hitter at Virginia since Mike Ballard no-hit Boston College on April 16, 2006, at Davenport Field.

Roberts (5-0) also is the first Virginia pitcher to toss a shutout since Jacob Thompson on April 27, 2007, against Maryland. The 2-0 victory marks the eighth shutout for the Virginia pitching staff this season, which is just three shy of the school and ACC season record of 11 held by the 2005 Virginia team and the 1977 Clemson squad.

Roberts was rarely tested on Wednesday. In addition to his 10 strikeouts, Roberts recorded 14 groundouts and three flyouts – only one ball left the infield, a fifth-inning fly ball to right field by Tyler McCarthy.

The closest thing to a hit came in the eighth inning when McCarthy hit a rocket back to Roberts, who knocked the ball down, recovered and threw to first to get the out. Outside of that, Roberts and his defense was rarely tested. Second baseman Keith Werman (Jr., Vienna, Va.) was the busiest Cavalier defender of the evening, with a pair of putouts as well as seven assists, including the all-important 27th out. Roberts then was mobbed by his teammates, who lifted him onto their shoulders in celebration.

“I had no idea what was going on,” Roberts said of the celebration. “I felt people grabbing my legs and I had no idea what they were doing and then they lifted me up. I wasn’t really expecting that, but I have the best teammates in the nation. I am really happy for everybody. It is a team effort. It isn’t just me.”

Virginia (25-2) scored the only runs of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning following a single by Ryan Levine (So., Hackensack, N.J.) and walk by Kenny Swab (Sr., Kernersville, N.C.). A bunt single by David Coleman (Sr., Richmond, Va.) then loaded the bases. Reed Gragnani (So., Richmond, Va.) grounded into a fielder’s choice, scoring Levine, and a balk by George Washington pitcher Kenny O’Brien brought in Swab to make the score 2-0.

In a game headlined by the starting pitching performance, Virginia was led offensively by Levine, who went 2-for-4 and scored one run. John Barr (Sr., Ivyland, Pa.) and Steven Proscia (Jr., Suffern, N.Y.) also reached base twice, with a single and walk apiece. Kenny Swab reached base twice by being hit by a pitch and drawing a walk. Swab also scored a run.

George Washington starting pitcher Tom Gately (2-3) went three innings in which he was tested early by scattered Virginia hits, and was charged with two runs. He recorded one strikeout and two walks. The Colonials fell to 7-18 with the defeat.

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