P/DH Nick Howard went 3-for-4 at the plate
March 24, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The No. 11 Virginia baseball team finished off its first-ever three-game sweep of No. 16 NC State with a 6-3 victory Sunday (March 24) at Davenport Stadium.
"I thought it was a great weekend for us," said head coach Brian O'Connor. "Obviously, any time you can win three games in this league, especially against a high-quality opponent like NC State, it is a big step forward for us."
It was the first time in the history of the two teams that Virginia (22-2, 7-2 ACC) has swept a three-game series against NC State (16-9, 3-6 ACC). It was also the first time since 2011 that the Wolfpack had been swept by any team in a three-game series.
Virginia won both games of Saturday's doubleheader, 8-2 and 4-3.
Nick Howard(So., Olney, Md.) began Sunday's game on the mound as the starting pitcher, but received no decision after throwing 4.1 innings, allowing two runs on six hits, walking two and striking out three. After leaving the mound, Howard remained in the game as the DH. On the offensive side, he went 3-for-4, scoring two runs and driving in another.
Austin Young(Jr., Mechanicsville, Va.) came in with two runners on and one out in the fifth inning, eliminating the threat and earning his second win of the season (2-0).
NC State loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the first, but Howard was able to get an infield groundout followed by a pop out in foul territory along the third base line followed by a fly to shallow right to get out of the inning surrendering just one run.
In the fourth inning, the Wolfpack's Logan Ratledge hit a one-out triple to the left field corner. Howard blazed a fastball past the next batter to get a called-strike three, but gave up a single up the middle on the first pitch to Sam Morgan to give the Wolfpack a 2-0 advantage.
After stranding runners on third base in the first and third innings, the Cavaliers' offense broke through in the fourth. With UVa trailing 2-0, NC State issued free passes to Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.) and Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) to give the Cavaliers two on, none out. After a strikeout and a fly ball, Virginia had runners on the corners with two outs. The Wolfpack went to the bullpen, with Josh Easley coming on in relief. Back-to-back singles to center field from Howard and Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) scored a pair of runs to tie the game. After Easley walked Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.) to load the bases, he then walked Branden Cogswell(So., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) to give Virginia a 3-2 lead.
In the fifth inning, NC State had runners on first and second with one out when Young entered the game. He got Brett Williams to fly out to shallow left, with the runners unable to advance. After an error by second baseman Gragnani, Young got another fly to left to end the inning and preserve the 3-2 lead.
Virginia had its second three-run inning in the sixth when the Cavaliers loaded the bases with no outs. An infield hit and a pair of sacrifice flies pushed the lead to 6-2.
The Wolfpack added a run in the ninth inning off Kyle Crockett(Jr., Poqouson, Va.), but Crockett closed the game with a strikeout to preserve the series sweep for the Cavaliers.
Easley took the loss for NC State, not recording an out in the fourth inning while allowing one run on two hits. He fell to 1-1 on the season.
The game was originally slated to be played on Monday night (March 25), but was moved up because of weather considerations. With game-time temps in the high 30's, a slight drizzle and sleet mixture began falling in the eighth inning, with snow showers commencing right after the end of the three-hour, thirty-minute contest.
The Cavaliers are back in action next week with a midweek game scheduled for Wednesday, March 27 at 5 p.m. against Towson followed by a three-game weekend series against Miami beginning Friday, March 29 at 6 p.m. at Davenport Field.
Tickets are on sale at the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office. Customers may purchase tickets online at VirginiaSports.com, calling (800) 542-UVA1 or by visiting the ticket office in Bryant Hall during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tickets will also be sold at the Davenport Field ticket windows beginning two hours prior to each home game.
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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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