UVa. blows ninth-inning lead, loses at #9 NC State

The Virginia baseball team scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning to rally and take the lead, but ninth-ranked NC State countered with two runs in the bottom of the ninth to post a 7-6 win over the Cavaliers Sunday afternoon at Doak Field at Dail Park in Raleigh, N.C. With the victory the Wolfpack (19-7, 8-4 ACC) clinched the series, two games to one.

Stephen Bruno (Jr., Audubon, N.J.) hit the game-tying, two-run triple in the ninth inning as part of his two-hit day. Jared King (Sr., Radford, Va.) also had a pair of hits for Virginia (18-10-1, 6-6). Keith Werman (Sr., Vienna, Va.) extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a third-inning single.

UVa reliever Justin Thompson (Sr., Danville, Va.) gave up the two ninth-inning runs and was tagged with the loss. He dropped to 2-1 this year. Danny Healey (3-0) recorded the final two outs in the ninth inning to earn the win. The teams combined to use 12 pitchers in the four-hour, four-minute marathon.

Neither starting pitcher earned a decision. Virginia starter Artie Lewicki (So., Wyckoff, N.J.) worked 5.1 innings, allowing two earned runs, five hits and a walk. He struck out five. NC State starter Logan Jernigan pitched 4.0 innings, giving up three earned runs, four hits and one walk while striking out three.

After the pitchers dominated through three scoreless innings, Virginia broke the stalemate with a run in the fourth. Branden Cogswell (Fr., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) led off with a single to left. One out later Cogswell went to third on a hit-and-run single to right field by King. Derek Fisher (Fr., Rexmont, Pa.) then hit a grounder to second, which Matt Bergquist booted, allowing Cogswell to score and Fisher to reach base.

Virginia tacked on a pair of runs in the fifth inning to move ahead 3-0. After loading the bases with none out against Jernigan and reliever Travis Orwig, UVa got a sacrifice fly from Chris Taylor (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) off of Williams, and Cogswell followed with a safety squeeze to plate Mitchell Shifflett (So., Midlothian, Va.).

NC State’s Logan Ratledge homered on the first pitch of the bottom half of the fifth to cut the lead to 3-1. The Wolfpack added another run in the sixth. After a one-out Danny Canela single, Lewicki was replaced by Austin Young (So., Mechanicsville, Va.), who gave up a double to Tarran Senay to move Canela to third. Andrew Ciencin followed with a sacrifice fly to right.

The Wolfpack took a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning. Jake Fincher hit a leadoff single against Halley, then stole second and moved to third on a groundout. He scored when Brett Austin singled through the drawn-in infield. Austin moved to third on a hit-and-run single by Chris Diaz and scored on a Canela sacrifice fly.

Virginia loaded the bases with one out in the eighth inning, but reliever Chris Overman came in and struck out pinch hitter Mike Papi (Fr., Tunkhannock, Pa.) and got Shifflett to fly out to right to end the inning.

NC State added a run in its half of the eighth on an RBI single from Trea Turner.

Overman walked the first two batters of the ninth inning, Werman and Taylor, and Cogswell followed with a sacrifice bunt. Bruno then launched a triple over the head of center fielder Jake Fincher to tie the game. After a walk to King, NC State brought in Danny Healey to pitch, and Fisher lifted the first pitch into center field for a sacrifice fly to give UVa the 6-5 lead.

The Wolfpack promptly responded with a pair of ninth-inning runs to win the game. Diaz led off the ninth inning with a single to center. Thompson walked Canela, who was then replaced by pinch runner Bryan Adametz. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice, and UVa intentionally walked Ciencin to load the bases. Ratledge followed with a bloop single to right to plate Diaz and tie the game. Bergquist then hit a high chopper to Nick Howard (Fr., Olney, Md.) at third base. Howard leaped to snare the ball, but his throw home pulled Werman off the plate and allowed Adametz to cross safely.

Virginia returns home Wednesday for a 6 p.m. game with James Madison. The contest kicks off a nine-game homestand for the Cavaliers.


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