Virginia rallies in ninth, takes series from Tech
Nate Irving (Fr., Yonkers, N.Y.) hit a walk-off infield single with two outs in the ninth inning to cap a rally from three runs down as the Virginia baseball team topped Virginia Tech, 6-5, Sunday at Davenport Field. UVa trailed 5-2 in the eighth inning before scoring two runs in each of the final two innings to rally for the victory and win the series, 2-1.
Virginia (9-5-1, 2-1 ACC) now has won 14-consecutive ACC home series, dating to a series loss to Miami in March 2009.
Irving (3-for-5) had three run-scoring hits to highlight an 11-hit day for Virginia. Fellow freshman Derek Fisher (Rexmont, Pa.) went 3-for-4 and scored three times, including the game winner. Mike Papi (Fr., Tunkhannock, Pa.) went 2-for-5 and scored twice, while Stephen Bruno (Jr., Audubon, N.J.) added a pair of hits and the game-tying RBI in the ninth inning.
Justin Thompson (Sr., Danville, Va.) worked the final two-thirds of an inning for the Cavaliers to earn the win and improve the 2-0. Clark Labitan (3-1) was credited with the loss after allowing three earned runs and four hits in 1.1 innings.
Making his first career ACC start, Artie Lewicki (So., Wyckoff, N.J.) pitched a career-high 5.0 innings, allowing just an unearned run and three hits while striking out five. He did not walk a batter. Virginia Tech starter Marc Zecchino was equally impressive, going 7.0 innings and allowing three earned runs, six hits and three walks while fanning four.
UVa jumped ahead in the second inning when Keith Werman (Sr., Vienna, Va.) hit a sacrifice fly to left field. Fisher aggressively scored from third on the shallow fly to left.
Virginia Tech (12-4, 1-2) scored the game’s next three runs – largely in part to three UVa errors. In the fourth inning the Hokies tied the game. With Johnny Morales on first, Andrew Rash reached second base and Morales moved to third on a dropped fly ball by Fisher. One out later, a dropped foul fly allowed Tyler Horan to continue his at bat, and he came through with a sacrifice fly.
In the sixth inning the Hokies moved ahead with two runs. With one out Morales singled, and he advanced around to third when Bruno booted a grounder at third base. Keselica grounded out to bring Morales home and pinch hitter Kyle Wernicki hit an RBI single to score Rash.
UVa got a run back in its half of the sixth on an Irving single to score Fisher, but Virginia Tech came right back with two runs in the seventh when Chad Pinder cranked a two-out, two-run double to center field, giving the Hokies a 5-2 edge.
The Cavaliers started their comeback in the eighth inning with an RBI triple from Fisher, followed by a run-scoring single to center from Irving.
Chris Taylor (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) was hit by a pitch to lead off the ninth and he moved to second on a Reed Gragnani (Jr., Richmond, Va.) sacrifice. Stephen Bruno (Jr., Audubon, N.J.) then singled to right-center to bring Taylor home and knot the score at five. Papi stroked a single to right to put runners on the corners, and the Hokies intentionally walked Jared King (Sr., Radford, Va.) to load the bases.
Against reliever Eddie Campbell and with left fielder Gabe Ortiz serving as a fifth infielder, Fisher grounded softly into a fielder’s choice, with Bruno thrown out at the plate. Jake Joyce took the mound to face Irving, who hit a high chopper just over the outstretched pitcher, and beat the throw to first from Morales at shortstop for the winning hit.
Virginia returns to Davenport Field Tuesday and Wednesday for non-conference games against Marist. Both contests will start at 5 p.m.