March 19, 2005
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The University of Virginia baseball team (16-6, 2-3 ACC) extended its season-high winning streak to eight games and secured their first ACC series win with a 6-5 victory over the Maryland Terrapins (10-9, 3-5 ACC) at Davenport Field at the UVa Baseball Stadium. The Cavaliers found themselves trailing 5-1 in the sixth inning before mounting a comeback. After scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game at 5-5, Virginia's Ryan Hudson provided the excitement of the game in the bottom of the ninth with his walkoff home run to left field to give UVa the 6-5 victory. The Cavaliers have defeated the Terrapins eight consecutive times and are now 14-1 at home this season.
The Cavaliers also received strong offensive performances by Ryan Zimmerman (2-for-4, 2 RBI, 2 runs and a home run) and Sean Doolittle (3-for-4, RBI, run). UVa's closer Casey Lambert (1-0) recorded his first win of the season after going 2.2 scoreless innings in relief and struck out a team-high three batters.
"That was a really big win for us. To get another ACC win was very critical," said UVa head coach Brian O'Connor. "The biggest thing was for our players to prove to each other, and to our entire team, that we can come from behind and win a game like that. That takes a never-say-die attitude. That's what we showed last year, and fortunately we found a way to win the ballgame today."
After two innings of scoreless baseball, Maryland scored the first run of the game and took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning. The Terps loaded the bases with no outs but were held to a single run by the Virginia defense. Maryland's Jason Von Behren started the offense with a lead off walk before Chad Durakis singled up the middle. The Terrapins' Nicker Jowers then singled to load the bases. Von Behren came around to score the lone run of the inning on Elliot Singletary's RBI groundout to make it 1-0.
In the top of the fourth inning, Maryland added another run to take a 2-0 lead. The Terrapins' Jordan Wilson led off the inning with a double to right field before he came around to score a run on Dan Melvin's RBI-single to center field to give the Terps a two-run lead.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Cavaliers plated a run and made it a 2-1 contest. With one out in the inning, Zimmerman reached base on an infield single and advanced to second on a Maryland throwing error. In UVa's next at-bat, Zimmerman scored on Doolittle's RBI-single up the middle to make it a one-run ballgame.
Maryland responded in their next at-bat in the top of the fifth inning by scoring three runs to take a 5-1 lead. The first two batters, Durakis and Jowers, both reached base before Singletary advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Both base runners then came around to score a run on Matt Maropis' groundball single through the rightside to make it 4-1. Two batters later, Maryland's Wilson connected on a RBI-single to driving in Maropis for the third run of the inning, giving the Terrapins a 5-1 lead.
However, Virginia used one of its trademark comebacks to get back into the game at tied the contest at 5-5 in the bottom of the sixth inning by scoring four runs. The first four Cavaliers that stepped to the plate reached base and eventually scored a run.
Matt Street got things started for the Orange and Blue when he led off the inning with a groundball single through the right side before Zimmerman made it a 5-3 ballgame with one swing of the bat when he launched a two-run home run off the top of the scoreboard in left field. Zimmerman's home run was his third of the season and his second in three games. The next two UVa batters after Zimmerman's home run also reached base when Doolittle singled and Brandon Guyer reached base after being hit by a pitch. Both runners advanced on the sacrifice bunt by catcher Scott Headd before the real drama of the inning started.
UVa's Hudson entered the game as a pinch hitter and drove in the third run of the inning on his sacrifice fly ball to right field that scored Doolittle to make it 5-4. Following the sacrifice fly to right field, Guyer, (who was tagging up from second base on the play) advanced to third base and then continued towards home plate on a wild throw and found himself in a run-down between third and home plate with several Terrapins. As Guyer and the ball arrived at home plate following a pickle, the ball popped loose from the pitcher's glove on the tag on Guyer, and instead of the inning-ending out, it allowing him to score the game-tying run to make it a 5-5 contest.
"The at bat for me of the game was Ryan Hudson's when there were runners on second and third (in the bottom of the sixth inning)," said O'Connor. "It was a 5-3 ballgame, and he pinch hits and sends a fly ball to right fly. Fortunately, we scored two runs off of it and tied the ballgame. Our relief pitching was outstanding. They gave us a chance to win the ballgame late. That's what they have to do down there in the bullpen."
With the game tied at 5-5 going into the bottom of ninth inning, Hudson, the second batter of the inning, ended the game with a walk off solo home run over the left field fence to the delight of most of the 1,279 spectators in attendance. Hudson's home run was his second of the season and he became the first Cavalier to hit a walkoff home run since Joe Koshansky accomplished the feat on May 23, 2003 against Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament in Salem, Va.
UVa starting pitcher Matt Avery went 4.1 innings in a no-decision. He allowed five runs on seven hits and struck out two batters. Lambert (1-0) allowed no runs or hits and struck out three batters in his 2.2 innings of action en route to picking up the win.
Maryland starting pitcher Ben Pfinsgraff went 5.1 innings in a no-decision. He allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits and struck out four batters. Maryland relief pitcher Chris Bowen (1-1) recorded the loss after he gave up one run on one hit which was Hudson's home run.
Virginia secured the series with today's victory and takes a two games to none lead in the three-game series with Maryland. The Cavaliers also defeated the Terrapins 4-1 in the first contest of the series on Friday. UVa is now 5-1 in weekend series decisions and stands 12-5 overall in contests played in weekend series action.
The Cavaliers and Terrapins will return to action on Sunday, March 20th when the two teams 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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