March 3, 2017
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The No. 12 Virginia baseball team downed Niagara, 5-3, Friday at Davenport Field to win its ninth straight game to open the season. Three Virginia pitchers scattered five hits in the victory, while UVA used timely hitting, scoring all of its runs on two-out hits.
"I thought Daniel Lynch did a nice job of settling down after the first couple of innings," Virginia head coach Brian O'Connor said. "His command was not where it needed to be tonight with four walks, but I thought he did a nice job of settling down and giving us six innings. We struggled to score runs. Sometimes you get these games where we are averaging 10 or 11 runs a game and you think that's what you're supposed to do all the time, and the reality is most games are 5-3 ballgames and it comes down to whether you pitch, play defense and execute. I'm proud of our guys and for the most part we defended well and got timely hits."
The game was part of a three-team, round-robin tournament being held this weekend at Davenport Field, with each team playing four games. In the first game Friday, Niagara (4-5) defeated La Salle, 8-5.
Virginia recorded 10 hits, spread across eight of its nine starters. Cameron Simmons (So., Royersford, Pa.) and Pavin Smith (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) each recorded two hits, while Charlie Cody (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) stroked the tie-breaking, two-run single in the fifth inning.
Virginia starting pitcher Daniel Lynch (So., Henrico, Va.) worked six innings in a quality start, allowing three runs (two earned), four hits and four walks while striking out six. He earned the win and improved to 3-0 on the year. After Alec Bettinger (Sr., Woodbridge, Va.) pitched two scoreless frames, Tommy Doyle (Jr., Vienna, Va.) tossed a perfect ninth inning to claim his second save of the year.
Niagara reliever Nate Mascellino (0-1) took the loss after allowing two runs in four innings of work. Starter Cody Eckerson fired four innings, giving up three runs, six hits and two walks while striking out one.
Niagara scored in the first and second innings, and Virginia matched the Purple Eagles both times. In the first, Niagara jumped to a 2-0 advantage on an RBI double from Wyatt Olson followed by a run-scoring single from Owen Dziados. UVA responded in its half of the inning on back-to-back two-out RBI singles from Robbie Coman (Jr., Lake Worth, Fla.) and Simmons.
Niagara came back with a run in the second inning on Greg Cullen's run-scoring single, directly after a two-out UVA error. The Cavaliers put up their own run in the bottom of the inning when Jake McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.) bounced a two-out single up the middle, bringing Justin Novak (Jr., Tokyo, Japan) around from second base.
The Cavaliers forged ahead in the fifth on a two-out single to left by Cody, scoring Smith and Coman. UVA's pitching staff did the job from there, facing the minimum over the final four innings.
Virginia plays a doubleheader Saturday, taking on La Salle at noon and Niagara in the second game, which starts approximately 50 minutes after the conclusion of the first game. Free hot chocolate and coffee will be available (while supplies last).
Free parking for baseball will be available in the Emmet-Ivy Garage. Parking in the rest of the University Hall lots, as well as the John Paul Jones Arena and McCue Center lots, will be reserved for the men's basketball game at noon Saturday at JPJ. Once the basketball patrons vacate their spots at University Hall, those spots will be free for baseball parking. Please note that there is no parking for reserved season tickets holders on Saturday.
The weekend schedule:
Friday - Niagara 8, La Salle 5
Friday - Virginia 5, Niagara 3
Saturday, Noon -- Virginia vs. La Salle
Saturday, approx. 3:30 pm -- Virginia vs. Niagara
Sunday, 11 a.m. -- Niagara vs. La Salle
Sunday, 2:30 p.m. -- Virginia vs. La Salle
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