Feb. 26, 2005
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The University of Virginia baseball team (8-2) swept the Fordham Rams (3-2) in a doubleheader at Davenport Field at the UVa Baseball Stadium and extended their season high winning streak to six consecutive games. UVa blanked the Rams in the first game 5-0 before the Cavaliers turned in another strong performance in the second contest to run away with a 13-3 victory in the nightcap. Four of Virginia's eight victories this season have come by shutout.
In the first game, the Cavaliers rode another superb performance by starting pitcher Mike Ballard (3-0) after the lefty stifled the Rams offense for eight innings. Strong performances were also turned in by right fielder Matt Street (2-for-4, run) and third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (2-for-4, run). In the second game, Zimmerman (2-for-4) paced the Cavalier offense with four RBI and two runs scored. Outfielder Tom Hagan (1-for-4) also contributed to the offensive effort with three RBI in the ten-run victory.
"The story of the first ballgame was the pitching of Mike Ballard. He did a tremendous job with eight shutout innings with five strikeouts and only four hits," said UVa head baseball coach Brian O'Connor. "We need to do a better job of executing offensively. We didn't do that in the first game. In the second game, we swung the bats pretty well, and Matt Avery pitched a nice ballgame and we got a chance to look at some other guys out there on the mound."
In the first game, the Cavaliers got off to a quick start and took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Ballard retired the first three Fordham batters he faced. In the bottom half of the inning for UVa, Street led off with an infield single. Virginia's Tim Henry walked before Zimmerman singled up the third baseline to load the bases. Street scored the first run of the ballgame on first baseman Sean Doolittle's RBI groundout before Henry then came in to score the second run of inning on a balk by Fordham's pitcher Shingo Mitsumori.
After two quiet innings in the second and third, the Cavaliers extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning by tacking on a run. Cavalier designated hitter Brandon Guyer led off the bottom of the fourth inning with an infield single before advancing to second on a stolen base. Guyer then took third base on the second balk by the Rams' Mitsumori before he scored a run on a sacrifice fly to right field by Virginia's catcher Scott Headd.
The Rams offense generated baserunners in the top of the fifth inning but failed to produce any runs. Right fielder Greg Smith led off the inning with a single to left field and advanced to second base on a groundball to third base on batter later. Fordham third baseman Jordan Lert then singled to right field and Smith advanced to third base. But with one out and runners at the corners, the Cavaliers' Zimmerman started the 5-4-3 double play to end the inning and the Rams threat.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Cavaliers scored two more runs to extend their lead to 5-0. Zimmerman led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single and stole second base two pitches later. Doolittle then walked on four consecutive pitches before the Cavaliers successfully executed a double steal. The first run of the inning came in on Guyer's sacrifice fly that scored Zimmerman. In Virginia's next at-bat, Hagan recorded an RBI on a groundout that scored Doolittle.
UVa starting pitcher Ballard went 8.0 scoreless innings. He allowed no runs on four hits and struck out a game-high five batters. Fordham starting pitcher Shingo Mitsumori (1-1) recorded the loss. He went 6.0 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Cavaliers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, Henry reached first base on a walk before Zimmerman reached base after being hit by pitch. The Cavaliers then loaded the bases when Doolittle reached on a fielder's choice. Henry came in to score the first run of the game when Guyer was hit by the pitch with the bases loaded to make it 1-0 before the Cavaliers added to their run total when Zimmerman scored a run courtesy of Hagan's sacrifice fly to left field, giving UVa a two-run lead.
Virginia then doubled its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the second inning. Headd and Henry both walked to reach base before they both scored a run on Doolittle's RBI-single to centerfield. Fordham chipped into the Cavalier lead to make it 4-1 in the top of the third inning when the Rams' Rich Goulian led off the inning with a double down the left field line and came around to score the Rams first run of the series on Tim Short RBI-double down the right field line.
But in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Cavaliers tacked on four more runs to extend their lead to 8-1. With the bases loaded, Zimmerman drove in two of his four runs in the game with an RBI-double to the centerfield warning track. Guyer then drove in Henry with a sacrifice fly before Hagan singled to right field to drive in Zimmerman to give Virginia a seven-run lead.
The Cavaliers added two more runs to their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning to make it 10-1 when Zimmerman recorded his third and fourth RBIs of the game when he knocked in both Werman and Street in with a double down the left field line. Later in the sixth inning, the Cavaliers extended their lead to 11-1 by tacking on another run. After designated hitter Anthony Martinez singled to right field, he scored a run two batters later on Werman's single to right-center field.
The Rams got their second run of the ballgame in the top of the seventh inning off a solo homerun by catcher Jeremy Bourgeois which made it an 11-2 contest. But the Cavaliers responded with two runs of their own in the seventh inning to make the score 13-2. The Cavaliers' Patrick Wingfield led off the side by reaching base on an error before Guyer doubled down the left field line. Wingfield eventually came around to score on an RBI groundout by Hagan and Guyer followed when he scored one batter later on an RBI single by Martinez.
The Rams tallied the final run of the game in the top of the eighth inning and made it a 13-3 ballgame. The first two Rams batters, Goulian and Short, led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Goulian later came around to score on a fielder's choice coupled with a UVa throwing error for the contest's last score.
UVa starting pitcher Matt Avery (2-1) picked up his second win of the season and went 6.0 innings and allowed one run on three hits while striking out a game-high six batters. Fordham's starting pitcher Javier Martinez (1-1) took the loss after going just 3.0 innings and allowed eight runs on three hits and walked five batters.
With the sweep of the doubleheader, UVa improved its record to 8-2 while Fordham fell to 3-2. Virginia now leads the series two games to none and has claimed its third weekend series this season in as many attempts.
NOTE: With the 5-0 victory in the first game of the doubleheader (coupled with UVa's 8-0 victory over Old Dominion on February 23rd), the Cavaliers recorded consecutive shutout wins for the first time since the 1996 season. Virginia has won half of its games this season (four out of eight) by shutout.
The Cavaliers and Rams will return to action on Sunday, February 27th when Virginia and Fordham play the third and final contest of the three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 PM 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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