No. 3 Virginia Uses Two Walk-Offs to Sweep Boston College

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Nick Howard

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Nick Howard
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

March 15, 2014

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.- The third-ranked Virginia baseball team finished off a three-game series sweep of Boston College Saturday after taking both games of a doubleheader against the Eagles. The Cavaliers (15-3, 5-1 ACC) won the opener, 3-2 in 12 innings, before walking off in the nightcap with a 2-1 triumph.

Virginia won the opener on a Nick Howard (Jr., Olney, Md.) walk-off single to score Joe McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.), and took the second game when a Mike Papi (Jr., Tunkhannock, Pa.) grounder was muffed with the bases loaded and none out, allowing John La Prise(So., Exton, Pa.) to slide home safely.

The Cavaliers allowed just four runs in the series and have given up three runs or fewer in 17 straight games, a program record, while lowering their team ERA to an ACC-low 2.03.

Howard and Daniel Pinero(Fr., Toronto, Ontario) each had three hits in the doubleheader to pace the Cavaliers' offense. In addition to his walk-off hit, Howard also earned the win in Game 1 with 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief pitching.


 

 

Game 1
In the longest game at Davenport Field in nearly seven years, Virginia outlasted Boston College in 12 innings in the opener. Virginia won the game in the 12th inning as McCarthy led off with a double and Howard grounded a single up the middle to score the winning run.

The four-hour, 17-minute marathon was full of chances on both sides, with neither team cashing in much. Virginia put the leadoff runner on base in 10 of the 12 innings, including each of the last nine frames. UVa stranded 15 runners, while BC left eight runners on base.

Virginia tied an NCAA record with seven sacrifice hits in the first game. Texas set the record with seven sac bunts against TCU on June 6, 2009. Howard had three of the sacrifices (in three straight at bats), falling one short of the individual NCAA record.

The game was the longest by innings at Davenport Field since UVa and Oregon State squared off in a 13-inning contest in the NCAA tournament on June 2, 2007.

Howard (1-0) got the win out of the bullpen after working 2 1/3 innings and striking out five. Connor Jones(Fr., Chesapeake, Va.) pitched 4 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, allowing just three hits while striking out four.

Virginia starting pitcher Josh Sborz(So., McLean, Va.) worked five innings, giving up two earned runs, five hits and one walk while striking out five. BC starter Andrew Chin pitched five innings, allowing one run, four hits and four walks while striking out four. Nick Poore (0-2) took the loss for BC after giving up the winning run in the 12th inning.

Boston College staged a two-out rally in the second inning to score the game's first run as Johnny Adams singled and Tom Bourdon lined a double the opposite way down the left-field line to easily plate the run.

UVa knotted the score in the fifth inning on a two-out single by Papi to bring in Branden Cogswell(Jr., Ballston Lake, N.Y.), but BC immediately responded in the sixth when Blake Butera led off with a home run into the left-field bleachers.

The Cavaliers left runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh innings, but tied the game once again in the eighth inning. McCarthy was hit by a Steve Green pitch to start the inning. Bobby Skogsbergh retired Howard on a sacrifice bunt before Robbie Comanbounced a single over the third baseman and into left field. McCarthy advanced to third and then scored when left fielder Logan Hoggarth bobbled the ball for an error.

BC made highlight-worthy defensive plays to stave off the Cavaliers in the ninth and 10th innings. With one out and runners on first and second base in the ninth inning, left fielder Logan Hoggart made a diving catch to rob Papi. On the next play, Tom Bourdon made a long run on Brandon Downes'blast to left-center and crashed hard into the wall to make the fantastic catch.

In the 10th inning, Hoggart made a sprawling catch over his shoulder with two outs and a runner on third base to take away Kenny Towns'bid for the walk-off hit.

Game 2
Virginia finished off the sweep with a 2-1 walk-off win in the second game. The Cavaliers again benefited from outstanding pitching, as Brandon Waddell (So., Houston, Texas) and Whit Mayberry(R-Sr., Alexandria, Va.) combined to scatter six hits in the win.

Mayberry (1-1) earned the victory with 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. He struck out five and did not allow a hit. Waddell started and fired 6 1/3 innings, allowing a run, four hits and two walks while striking out four.

Eric Stevens (0-3) gave up an unearned run in the ninth inning and took the loss. BC starter Jeff Burke tossed 6 1/3 innings, working around nine UVa hits as well as two walks to allow just one run. He struck out a pair.

Pinero and Howard each had two hits in the win for UVa.

Virginia pounced quickly to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Cogswell led off with a double just inside the left-field line. He moved to second on a Pinero sacrifice bunt and scored on a Papi sacrifice fly.

BC tied the game in the third, getting a leadoff double from Nick Sciortino and a one-out RBI single from Gabriel Hernandez.

The Eagles put runners at second and third with one out in the seventh against Waddell, but Mayberry came in and got Sciortino to line out to shallow center before striking out Nick Colucci.

Virginia won the game with a ninth-inning rally. La Prise drew a leadoff walk, and Cogswell was plunked by a pitch. Pinero laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the throw from Adams at third base pulled Hennessy off first base to load the bases with none out. Facing a five-man infield, Papi grounded to Hennessy, who bobbled the ball, recovered and threw wide to home plate to allow La Prise to slide in safely.

Virginia is home for a pair of midweek games this week, taking on Rutgers Tuesday and Towson Wednesday. Both games start at 4 p.m. The Cavaliers travel to Miami next Saturday through Monday (March 22-24) in a three-game ACC series.