Virginia baseball drops series finale at Georgia Tech
The fourth-ranked Virginia baseball team lost 3-2 at No. 17 Georgia Tech Sunday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium in Atlanta. Played from start to finish in a steady rain, the game was called with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning because of poor field conditions.
Virginia (31-6, 13-5 ACC) was dealt its first ACC series loss of the season as Georgia Tech (26-10, 11-7) won two of three games in the tightly contested series. Both of the Yellow Jackets’ wins were by one run; all six of Virginia’s defeats this season have come by two runs or fewer.
Virginia starter Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) worked 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs (two earned), five hits and two walks while striking out four. He took the loss and fell to 4-3. Kyle Crockett (Jr., Poquoson, Va.) worked the final 1 2/3 innings and did not allow a run as he kept the Cavaliers close.
Georgia Tech starter Cole Pitts (5-3) worked 5 1/3 innings, giving up two earned runs, two hits and two walks while striking out six to earn the win. Jonathan King picked up the final two outs of the sixth inning to earn his second save.
The Cavaliers finished with just two hits. Jared King (R-Sr., Radford, Va.) homered in the sixth inning, while Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) finished off a solid series with a third-inning single. Gragnani went 6-for-8 in the series and scored three times. UVa’s Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) went 0-for-3 and failed to reach base for the first time in 37 games this season.
Virginia manufactured a run in the third inning to score first. Gragnani led off with a single and promptly stole second base. He advance to third on a deep flyout to center by Kenny Towns (So., Burke, Va) and scored on a groundout by Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.).
Georgia Tech responded with a run in its half of the third. Thomas Smith doubled with one out and scored on a two-out double by Brandon Thomas. The Yellow Jackets loaded the bases before Howard ended the threat by striking out Daniel Palka swinging.
Georgia Tech moved ahead in the fourth inning. After a Gragnani fielding error allowed Matt Gonzalez to reach base, A.J. Murray doubled to right-center to score the go-ahead run. Smith singled in Gonzalez one out later to push the lead to 3-1.
King homered to center field with one out in the sixth inning, a solo blast which also was his first of the year.
The game was stopped at 3:22 p.m. because of deteriorating field conditions and was called about 20 minutes later.
UVa returns home for four games next week, battling Old Dominion Wednesday before taking on No. 6 Florida State in a three-game ACC series Friday through Sunday.