UVA baseball downs #13 UNC, 15-9, to win weekend series

virginia baseballThe UVA baseball team finished off a series win over No. 13 North Carolina with a 15-9 victory Sunday afternoon in front of 4,950 fans at Davenport Field. Virginia (23-15, 9-9 ACC) took two of three games in the series with North Carolina (25-11, 9-9) and has won four straight series against the Tar Heels.

“It was a long game and the outs were hard to come by on both sides, but I told the team after the game that I thought they played the toughest we have played all year long in this ballgame,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We were looking for this. We were looking for a series win and it had been a few weeks since we had gotten one. I’m proud of our guys because they have hung in there. We’ve played six ACC weekends and found a way to win a game every weekend. I’m proud of them for continuing to fight and battle.”

The teams grinded through a four-hour, 30-minute contest, the longest nine-inning game in Virginia history. The pitching staffs combined for 18 walks, including a dozen issued by North Carolina hurlers. Nine of UNC’s walks turned into UVA runs as the Cavaliers recorded their highest-scoring ACC game since a 17-run contest against Duke on May 11, 2013. It matches UVA’s second-most runs ever against North Carolina.

Matt Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.) went 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI while reaching base in five of his six plate appearances. Daniel Pinero (Jr., Toronto, Ontario) went 3-for-5 with three RBI, while Ernie Clement (So., Rochester, N.Y.) also had three hits as part of UVA’s 12-hit day. Brian Miller went 5-for-5 for UNC, which finished with 15 hits.

Virginia reliever Kevin Doherty (Sr., Laytonsville, Md.) earned the win with 1 1/3 innings of work as he improved to 1-0 on the year. Alec Bettinger (Jr., Woodbridge, Va.) started for UVA and worked 3 2/3 innings, allowing five earned runs, eight hits and five walks. David Rosenberger (Sr., Bethlehem, Pa.) and Tommy Doyle (So., Vienna, Va.) each worked two innings to finish off the win.

The second of seven UNC pitchers, A.J. Bogucki (2-2) took the loss after allowing four runs, three hits and four walks in two innings of work. Jason Morgan started for the Tar Heels and allowed three runs, a hit and four walks in 1 2/3 innings.

UNC pounced quickly to score twice in the first inning, loading the bases with none out before Eli Sutherland blooped a two-out, two-run single to right-center. The Tar Heels added a run in the second when Tyler Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly to left field.

UVA knotted the score in its half of the second inning. Morgan walked the bases loaded and was lifted for Bogucki, who then walked Clement to force in a run. Thaiss followed with a two-run single to left-center.

UNC moved back ahead in the third, doing all of its damage after two were out. After a Miller single, Bettinger walked back-to-back batters to load the bases before Logan Warmoth hit a sharp comebacker to the mound that glanced off Bettinger’s glove for a single. Sutherland then walked to force in a run.

After the first two batters were retired in the UVA half of the fourth, seven straight Cavaliers reached base as three UNC pitchers walked five batters to twice load the bases, with Pinero and Cameron Simmons (Fr., Royersford, Pa.) each delivering bases-clearing doubles. Pinero’s double down the left-field line pushed UVA ahead for good, 6-5. On the first pitch following an 11-pitch walk to Charlie Cody (So., Chesapeake, Va.), Simmons’ double to right-center off Spencer Trayner gave UVA a 9-5 advantage.

UVA doubled its lead with a four-run fifth inning. Thaiss ripped a two-run home to the top row of bleachers in right-center for his sixth homer of the year. With two outs, Cody smacked a two-run single to center for his first hit of the year after missing the majority of the season with an ankle injury.

The Tar Heels scored three runs in the sixth to cut it to 13-8, but UVA came back with a run in the bottom of the inning when Sutherland booted a two-out grounder by Pavin Smith (So., Jupiter, Fla.), allowing Adam Haseley (So., Windermere, Fla.) to score.

UNC loaded the bases with none out in the seventh inning but scored just once when Ramirez hit a sacrifice fly. UVA added its final run in the eighth on a sac fly from Smith.

Virginia plays a pair of home midweek games this week. UVA entertains Radford Tuesday and VCU Wednesday; both games start at 6 p.m. The Cavaliers travel to No. 1 Miami next weekend for a three-game ACC series.



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