May 21, 2005
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia Cavaliers (38-17, 14-14 ACC) put the finishing touches on a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series sweep with a 10-4 victory over the Duke Blue Devils (14-38, 5-25 ACC) on Senior Day at Davenport Field at the UVa Baseball Stadium. The Cavaliers won their sixth consecutive game by pounding out 14 hits and UVa received another solid effort from its pitching staff as Virginia evened its conference record. Trailing 3-0 in the third inning, UVa's bats came alive and the Cavaliers were sparked by Sean Doolittle as the first-year pitched 4.0 scoreless innings to pick up the win and drove in five runs at the plate - including four runs courtesy of a grand slam - to guide UVa to the six-run victory.
The Cavaliers close out their regular season with 38 wins. Virginia's mark of 38 victories is tied for the third highest win total in UVa baseball history as the Cavaliers head into the postseason, beginning with the 2005 ACC Tournament on May 24-29 in Jacksonville, Fla.
"This was a great win in our final regular season game, especially at home, it was a great win for our senior class," said UVa head baseball coach Brian O'Connor. "Those players have done so much for this program, they've turned in the most successful four years in Virginia baseball history. I am very proud of their accomplishments. Today, we did it from all different ends. We did it out of the bullpen and we really swung the bats well today and that was great to see. Now, the real fun starts. It's postseason play, and we're look forward to getting down to Jacksonville and competing."
Duke broke a 0-0 tie in the top of the third inning and took a 3-0 lead when Javier Socorro connected on a two-run RBI-single up the middle to drive in Senterrio Landrum and Adam Murray before Bryan Smith drove in Socorro for a run with an RBI-single to right-center field. But that's when Virginia began its comeback.
Down by three runs, UVa began to chip away at the Blue Devils' lead. The Cavaliers made it a 3-1 ballgame in the bottom of the third inning when Tim Henry singled through the right side before scoring a run three batters later on a RBI-single to right-center field by Doolittle. Virginia came back in the fourth inning and trimmed the lead to 3-2 when Scott Headd drilled a solo home run to left field to pull the Cavaliers to within one run. Headd's home run was his third of the season.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, that's when Virginia did most of its damage and took its first lead of the game. The first three Cavaliers that stepped to the plate reached base on a bunt after Henry got on due to an error before Matt Street and Ryan Zimmerman laid down a pair of bunt-singles in back-to-back plate appearances. One batter later, Doolittle gave UVa a 6-3 lead with one swing of the bat when he ripped a grand slam to right field. Doolittle's home run was his team-leading 11th of the season as he became the first Cavalier to hit a grand slam this year and the most recent Virginia player to accomplish the feat since Matt Street hit a grand slam on April 24, 2004 vs. James Madison. UVa added a fifth run in the side when Mike Campagna drove in Headd for a run with an RBI-single through the left side.
Leading 7-3, Virginia tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and made it a 9-3 ballgame when Tom Hagan scored a run on a RBI-double by Kyle Werman before Werman scored a run himself on a Duke error.
The Blue Devils scored a run in the top of the eighth inning to make it a 9-4 contest when Duke loaded the bases with no outs before later Socorro scored a run on a sacrifice fly RBI by John Berger to right field. But UVa answered back with a run of its own in the bottom of the eighth inning to build its lead back to six runs at 10-4 when Guyer singled to reach base before scoring a run on fly ball error by Duke's Landrum in center field.
The Cavaliers' Doolittle (2-0) picked up his second win of the season after going 4.0 scoreless innings and allowed just two hits while striking out a game-high five batters. UVa starting pitcher Mike Ballard tossed 3.0 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits and struck out three batters in a no-decision.
Duke starting pitcher Ryan Sember (1-3) took the loss after going 4.1 innings and allowed seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits.
Virginia will return to action on May 24-29 when UVa travels to Jacksonville, Fla. to compete in the 2005 ACC Tournament. Seeding for the ACC Tournament will be announced later today by the conference.
-- UVa --
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Director of News Content
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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