Virginia's Mike Ballard.
Feb. 18, 2005
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The University of Virginia baseball team recorded a 7-2 victory over the Bucknell Bison in front of a home-opener crowd of 929 spectators at Davenport Field at the UVa Baseball Stadium. Virginia rode the arm of starting pitcher Mike Ballard and Ryan Zimmerman paced the Cavaliers at the plate by going 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lift UVa to a five-run victory over the Bison in game one of the three-game series.
"The big part of the game for us again was (starting pitcher) Mike Ballard," said UVa head baseball coach Brian O'Connor. "Any time you get a starting pitching performance like that, it gives you a really good chance to win. We plugged in a few new guys out there today. (First-year) Brandon Guyer was out there and got his first collegiate homerun, that was great to see."
The Cavaliers got off to a quick start and took and early 2-0 lead in the first inning. After Ballard retired the first three Bucknell batters (two by strikeout) in the top of the first inning, UVa plated a pair of two runs in the bottom of the first. After back-to-back singles by Matt Street and Sean Doolittle to lead off the side, Zimmerman drove in Street to give Virginia a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, left fielder Tom Hagan drove in Doolittle with a sacrifice fly to right field to give UVa a 2-0 advantage.
After a quiet second inning, the Cavaliers plated two more runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 4-0 lead. With two outs in the inning, first baseman Josh Darby single to get on base. In UVa's next at-bat, Hagan reached base himself on an error by the Bison to put Darby and Hagan on third and second base, respectively. One batter later, Scott Headd popped up to first base on what looked like a sure third out, but Bucknell's Brian Day committed another Bison error when he dropped the fly ball which allowed both Darby and Hagan to score a run.
Bucknell responded in the top of the fourth inning and the Bison scored their first run of the game and cut Virginia's lead to 4-1. Second baseman Brad Duvall led off the inning with a double to centerfield and he scored two batters later on a RBI sacrifice fly to centerfield by center fielder Kyle Walter.
But the Cavaliers came back and posted another two-run side in the bottom of the fourth inning and extended their lead to 6-1. Designated hitter Brandon Guyer led off the inning with an inside the park home run of the left-center field wall to make it 5-1. UVa shortstop Mike Campagna then followed Guyer's homer with a double down the leftfield line and scored a run himself four batters later when Zimmerman recorded his second RBI of the game when he singled through the left side to make it 6-1.
In the top of the seventh inning, Bucknell make the game 6-2 when Jason Buursma connected on a RBI-single to center field to drive in Chris Gryskevicz. But that would be all the scoring for the Bison, and in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cavaliers made it a 7-2 ballgame when Street drove in Campagna with a RBI-single to right center field to give UVa a six-run lead it would not relinquish as UVa posted the 7-2 victory.
UVa's Ballard (2-0) picked his second win of the season after going 8.0 innings and allowed two runs on eight hits with a game-high three strikeouts. Bucknell's starting pitcher Tim Peacock (0-1) went 5.1 innings and allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits with one strikeout.
With the victory Virginia improved its record to 3-2. The loss drops Bucknell to 0-1 on the season. UVa takes a 1-0 lead in the best of three series.
The Cavaliers will return to action on Saturday, February 19th when Virginia hosts Bucknell in a doubleheader. Game one of the doubleheader will be played at 1:00 PM and game two will be played at 4:00 PM. Both contests will be played at Davenport Field at the UVa Baseball Stadium.
-- UVa --
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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