Reed Gragnani homer lifts #4 Virginia to 8-6 win at Wake Forest
The fourth-ranked Virginia baseball team got a two-out, two-run home run from Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) in the eighth inning to break a tie game and lift the Cavaliers to an 8-6 win over Wake Forest Sunday afternoon at Gene Hooks Field at Wake Forest Baseball Park. The blast was the first home run in 130 career games for Gragnani.
After winning on a Mike Papi (So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) ninth-inning grand slam Saturday, Virginia (29-3, 11-3 ACC) has captured the first two games to clinch the series. UVa goes for the sweep at 7 p.m. Monday in a game that will be televised nationally by ESPNU and also is available via the WatchESPN app.
UVa had baserunners in every inning and finished with 11 hits. Five Cavaliers picked up two hits each, highlighted by Gragnani and Brandon Downes, who had a pair of doubles and drove in two. Branden Cogswell (So., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) reached base safely in five of his six plate appearances. Virginia drew 14 walks in the contest, its most since coaxing 16 bases on balls on April 20, 2010 at Richmond. UVa also stranded 18 runners, a season high.
Austin Young (Jr., Mechanicsville, Va.) earned the win with three scoreless innings of relief as he improved to 4-0. Kyle Crockett (Jr., Poquoson, Va.) recorded the last five outs to pick up his fourth save in as many games and his sixth of the season. UVa starter Scott Silverstein (R-Sr., Olney, Md.) worked 3 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs, six hits and a walk while fanning two.
Wake Forest reliever Nate Jones (2-1) was credited with the loss after giving up three runs (two earned), four hits and four walks in 2 2/3 innings. Wake starter Justin Van Grouw labored through 3 1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs, five hits and five walks.
Virginia struck for a first-inning run when Downes cranked a two-out double to score Cogswell, who had singled to lead off the frame.
Wake Forest (17-16, 4-10) knotted the score in the second inning as Matt Conway hit a leadoff double to right, then moved up on a groundout and scored on his brother Kevin Conway’s groundout to first base.
The Demon Deacons used a two-out rally to move ahead, 3-1, in the third. After back-to-back infield singles by Evan Stephens and Mark Rhine, Pat Blair tripled off the glove of a diving Downes in right-center field to score both baserunners.
Virginia tied the game in the fourth inning. Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) led off with a single and Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.) was hit by a pitch with one out. Cogswell walked to load the bases, and Jared King (R-Sr., Radford, Va.) followed with a two-run double to right-center. Jack Fischer relieved Van Grouw and, after walking Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) to load the bases, he struck out Downes and got Papi to ground out to first to end the threat.
Wake Forest again moved ahead in its half of the fourth. After Jack Carey drew a leadoff walk, Kevin Conway doubled to right-center field. Brett Armour followed with a sacrifice fly. The Demon Deacons then upped their lead to 6-3 in the fifth on a two-run double by Matt Conway.
Virginia pulled even in the sixth inning. Fischer walked the bases loaded to start the inning. Jones entered the game and Downes launched a towering fly ball down the right-field line. The ball just landed just fair; the runners all had held up originally, but Cogswell scored while King was thrown out at the plate on the Downes double. Papi followed with an RBI grounder to second base. Derek Fisher (So., Rexmont, Pa.) then hit a slow grounder to first and Matt Conway’s flip to the pitcher was wild, allowing McCarthy to score the tying run.
The Cavaliers took the lead in the eighth inning. Papi drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a Fisher sacrifice and to third on a Howard groundout. He scored when Gragnani crushed a 1-1 pitch over the right-center field wall for his first career home run.