CLEMSON, S.C. - The No. 12 Virginia baseball team pounded out 15 hits and received a strong start from Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) in an 8-5 victory at Clemson Sunday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson, S.C. The Cavaliers (17-2, 4-2 ACC) earned their second straight series win of 2013 and recorded their fifth straight series victory against Clemson (11-7, 3-3), dating to 2006.
Jared King (Sr., Radford, Va.) went 3-for-3 with three RBI and three runs scored to highlight the Cavaliers' big day at the plate. Branden Cogswell (So., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) and Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.) also had three hits apiece. Mike Papi (So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) went 2-for-3 and finished 5-for-7 with five RBI in the series. Virginia put runners on base in all but two innings.
Howard (3-1) gave the Cavaliers six strong innings, allowing two earned runs, seven hits and a walk while striking out three. He retired the first 11 batters he faced. Clemson starter Scott Firth labored through a difficult opening pair of innings but lasted five frames. He gave up six earned runs, nine hits and two walks while striking out five.
Virginia jumped out fast with two runs in the first inning and three more in the second. With one out in the first, King and Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa. hit back-to-back singles and Brandon Downes was hit by a pitch. After Derek Fisher (So., Rexmont, Pa.) struck out, Kenny Towns (So., Burke, Va.) and Papi drew consecutive walks to force in a pair of runs.
UVa put three runs on the board in the second before an out was recorded. Irving led off with a single and moved to third when Cogswell doubled to left. Both runners scored when King lined a single to center, with King advancing to second on the throw to the plate. King moved to third as McCarthy reached on a throwing error and then scored on a botched double-play ball.
The Cavaliers tacked on a run in the fifth inning. Papi led off with a double, advanced on a Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) sacrifice and scored when Irving lined a single through the drawn-in infield.
Clemson strung together three straight two-out hits to score twice in the sixth. Shane Kennedy started the rally with a single and he scored when Jon McGibbon doubled into the right-field corner. Tyler Krieger followed with an RBI single to right.
The Tigers inched closer in the seventh against UVa reliever David Rosenberger (Fr., Bethlehem, Pa.). Tyler Slaton led off with a single and scored with two outs on a Steve Wilkerson double to left.
Virginia pushed two runs across in the eighth. Cogswell tripled down the right-field line to lead off the inning and scored when King singled to left. King stole second as Downes struck out for the second out and then scored when Fisher doubled to left-center.
Clemson got those runs back by scoring two in its half of the eighth on back-to-back RBI singles from Thomas Brittle and Slaton.
Virginia returns home this week for a two-game non-conference series against Yale. The Cavaliers and Bulldogs play at 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at Davenport Field. UVa then entertains No. 17 NC State Saturday through Monday (March 23-25) for a three-game ACC series. The Monday contest is the first installment in ESPNU's 2013 ACC Monday programming.