Hoos Hammer Hokies In Blacksburg

By: Virginia Sports Information
By: Virginia Sports Information

BLACKSBURG, Va. – The No. 5 Virginia baseball team pounded out a season-high 17 hits in a 15-6 thumping of Virginia Tech Friday night in ACC play at English Field. The Cavaliers (38-6, 17-5 ACC) earned their seventh straight victory while winning an ACC series opener for the seventh time in eight tries this year.

Virginia scored 15-plus runs for the second straight game, the first time a UVa team has done that since March 8 and 10, 2009, when the Cavaliers scored 21 at Wake Forest and 17 against Navy. UVa also racked up 16 runs Wednesday against James Madison. The Cavaliers piled up their most hits in an ACC game since finishing with 18 on April 29, 2011, at Boston College.

Eight of the Cavaliers’ starters recorded hits, while six had multi-hit games. Every starter scored at least once. Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI. Jared King (R-Sr., Radford, Va.) and Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.) each doubled twice and went 3-for-6.

Freshman starter Brandon Waddell (Houston, Texas) worked 5 2/3 innings to claim the win and improve to 4-1. He allowed six earned runs, eight hits and a walk while striking out five. Whit Mayberry (R-Jr., Alexandria, Va.) pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings to record his second save of the year.

Virginia battered Hokie starting pitcher Brad Marey (3-4) for nine runs (seven earned) and 11 hits over his 5 2/3 innings.

Virginia Tech scored the game’s first run in the opening inning, getting a one-out double from Sean Keselica followed by a Chad Pinder single before Mark Zagunis lifted a sacrifice fly to right field.

Virginia sent eight batters to the plate in scoring four times in the second inning. Downes and Derek Fisher (So., Rexmont, Pa.) hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. One out later Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) and Gragnani hit consecutive RBI singles to give UVa a 2-1 lead. Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.) hit a tailor-made double-play ball, but the Hokies got just the force out at second, with Howard scoring as the relay throw bounced past Keselica at first base. Cogswell then cranked a double to right-center, easily scoring Irving from first for a 4-1 lead.

The Cavaliers extended their lead to 5-1 with an unearned run in the third inning. Downes doubled to left-center with one out and scored when Fisher’s sinking line drive to right was dropped by Rash for an error.

Virginia Tech cut the lead in half in the third inning, getting a two-out, two-run double from Pinder.

Virginia again took advantage of a Hokie error in the fifth inning to push its lead to 6-3. After Mike Papi (So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) walked with one out, Downes grounded sharply to shortstop Alex Perez, whose throw to second was errant, allowing Papi to move to third. Fisher grounded out to bring home Papi. Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) followed with a towering fly to right, but Rash went over the wall to take away a home run and end the inning.

The Cavaliers upped their lead to 9-3 with three runs in the sixth. Howard singled and advanced on Rash’s fielding error to start the inning, and he scored on a Gragnani single. After an Irving sacrifice, Cogswell grounded out to move Gragnani to third. King then singled to center to score a run. He stole second and hustled home when Papi singled deep behind second base.

The Hokies got those three runs back in their half of the sixth on a two-run triple by Tyler Horan followed by an RBI infield single by Rash, but Mayberry shut them down from there.

Virginia blew the game open with a six-run seventh inning. UVa sent 11 men to the plate and recorded five hits, with three going for extra bases. McCarthy drew a leadoff walk against reliever Eddie Campbell. Howard flied out to left field against Jake Joyce, but Gragnani followed with a long home run into the bullpen in right field, his third homer of the year. Irving then walked and scored on a hit-and-run double from Cogswell. King doubled against Ricky Hodges to score Cogswell. Papi and McCarthy each added run-scoring singles to give the Cavaliers a 15-6 edge.

The teams play the second game of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday. WINA 1070-AM will have the local radio broadcast, while select stations along the Virginia Sports Radio Network also will air the contest.


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