April 23, 2005
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia Cavaliers (28-13, 8-10 ACC) defeated the #4 ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (30-9, 16-4 ACC) by the score of 9-2 in the second contest of a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series at Davenport Field at the UVa Baseball Stadium. The Cavaliers jumped all over the Yellow Jackets early and often and chased GT starting pitcher Jason Neighborgall from the game after just 1.1 inning of work as UVa built a commanding 8-0 lead after two innings of play en route to a seven-run victory. The Cavaliers received more solid pitching performances in game two as starter Mike Ballard and reliever Sean Doolittle combined to strike out 12 Yellow Jackets in the win. UVa also struck out 13 Yellow Jackets in game one of the series to give Virginia 25 combined strikeouts in the first two games of the series.
Virginia's win over Georgia Tech was UVa's fifth consecutive victory in the series which is the most consecutive wins for the Cavaliers ever in the all-time series with the Yellow Jackets. Virginia defeated Georgia Tech 4-2 in game on the current series and UVa swept GT three games to none last year (March 12-14, 2004) in the ACC series in Atlanta, Ga. The win secures the series for Virginia as the Cavaliers take a two games to none lead over the Yellow Jackets. The loss ended Georgia Tech's streak of 13 consecutive ACC series wins as the Yellow Jackets had won 32 of their previous 34 ACC contests prior to dropping two games to Virginia.
"Today was a big day for our team and for Virginia Baseball," said UVa head baseball Coach Brian O'Connor. "Winning the first two games of the series against Georgia Tech was done by us getting tremendous pitching. Getting these two games helps us climb back into the ACC race. I knew that one of these weekends, we were going to have to do something special to get us back in the mix, and I feel like today - we did."
Virginia wasted no time getting on the scoreboard and took an early 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Tim Henry singled and Matt Street walked in UVa's first two plate appearances of the game before both base runners scored a run three batters later on a two-run RBI-single to center field by Brandon Guyer to make it 2-0. After stealing second base, Guyer scored what proved to be the eventual game-winning run one batter later on a RBI-single to center field by teammate Josh Darby to give the Cavaliers a 3-0 lead.
Virginia came right back in the bottom of the second inning and scored five more runs to essentially put the game away at 8-0. Five of the first six Cavaliers that stepped to the plate in the side came around and scored a run - with only one of those five runs resulting from a base runner reaching base on a hit. UVa benefited from two walks, one hit batsman, an error and a single to do the damage in the bottom half of the second. Mike Campagna (hit by pitch) and Kyle Werman (walk) both scored a run in Street's at-bat when he reached on an error on a groundout to make it 5-0. Street came around to score a run himself three batters later on a RBI sacrifice fly to center field by Guyer to push the lead to 6-0. Ryan Zimmerman (single) and Doolittle (walk) eventually both scored a run following a bases loaded walk by Scott Headd and a RBI-single by Campagna, respectively, to make it 8-0.
Georgia Tech finally got on the scoreboard and made it 8-2 by plating a pair of runs. The Yellow Jackets' Mike Trapani singled and Danny Payne reached on a fielder's choice before Tyler Greene drove them both in to score a run with a two-run RBI-single to cut the Cavaliers' lead to six.
But that would be as close as Georgia Tech would get as UVa scored an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth to stretch its lead to 9-2. Virginia's Campagna was hit by a pitch and scored a run one batter later on Werman's RBI-triple down the right field line to give the Cavaliers a seven-run advantage.
UVa Ballard (6-3) picked up the win after going 5.0 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and struck out four batters. Doolittle entered the game in the sixth inning and pitched 4.0 scoreless innings and struck out a game-high eight batters and allowed just one hit to record his first collegiate save.
Georgia Tech's Neighborgall (5-3) took the loss after lasting just 1.1 innings and allowed eight runs (five earned) on four hits in his outing.
With the victory, Virginia's record improves to 28-13 overall, 8-10 in the ACC. The loss drops Georgia Tech's record to 30-9 overall, 16-4 in the conference.
The Cavaliers and Yellow Jackets will return to action on Sunday, April 24th when they play the third and final contest of the three-game ACC 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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