June 6, 2004
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia's Matt Avery pitched a complete game shutout and the top-seeded Virginia Cavaliers (44-14) defeated the #4 seeded Princeton Tigers (28-20) by the score of 9-0 in Game 5 of the Charlottesville Regional at Davenport Field at the UVa Baseball Stadium. Virginia's victory sets up a Game 6 contest against #2 seed Vanderbilt while the loss eliminates Princeton from the 2004 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.
"Like the game yesterday against George Mason, I think the story of the game was our starting pitcher. Matt Avery stepped up and pitched the best game he's thrown all year and he picked a great time to do it," said Virginia coach Brian O'Connor.
Virginia came out of the gates and established an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. UVa's Ryan Zimmerman reached base on a two-out error, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then scored a run in the Cavaliers' next at-bat when Joe Koshansky lined a RBI-single to right field. Koshansky's RBI was his 67th of the season which set a new UVa school-record, breaking the former school-record of 66 by Brian Buchanan in 1994.
The Cavaliers extended their lead to 5-0 by scoring four runs in the top of the fourth inning. Matt Street got things started for Virginia when he led-off the side with a double down the left field line before scoring a run in UVa's next at-bat on a single by Scott Headd (coupled with a Princeton fielding error) to make it 2-0. After Virginia loaded the bases, Mark Reynolds' RBI sacrifice fly to center field scored Headd from third base to push the lead to 3-0. Two batters later, Zimmerman helped the Cavaliers plate two more runs to take a 5-0 lead when his RBI-single to third base drove in Kyle Werman. Tim Henry also scored on the play on another Princeton error, giving UVa a five-run advantage.
"We put some pressure offensively on Princeton with the style of baseball we've played all year, and it happened to work," said O'Connor.
Virginia pushed its lead to 7-0 in the top of the fifth inning after a pair of RBI by Werman and Henry. Werman drove in Tom Hagan (singled to reach base) to score the first run of the side with a RBI, sacrifice bunt before Henry's RBI-double down the right field line scored Headd (single) from second base to give the Cavaliers a seven-run lead.
In the top of the ninth inning, UVa's Zimmerman singled to lead-off the side which gave him 89 hits for the season, a new Virginia single season school-record. He eventually came around to score a run on the Tigers' fifth error of the contest to give UVa an 8-0 lead. The Cavaliers tacked on another run in the side to take a 9-0 lead on a RBI-single up the middle by Werman to drive in Koshansky who also reached base on an error.
UVa's Avery (7-2) picked up the win and allowed no runs on just four hits and struck out a game-high seven batters. It was his second complete game of the season. "I thought (Avery) did a very good job," said Princeton catcher Tim Lahey. "My hat is off to him and he really competed, that was the big thing. I thought he located very well, especially in my at bats. He would be on the outside corner, and then when I got comfortable with that, he would come back inside."
Princeton starting pitcher Erik Stiller (4-4) took the loss and lasted just 4.0 innings. He allowed six runs (four earned) on ten hits and struck out two batters.
"It was just a sloppy game, our defense really didn't play very well, and we end up getting beat pretty easily," said Princeton coach Scott Bradley.
With the victory, Virginia's record improves to 44-14 overall, 2-1 in the Charlottesville Regional. UVa's victory also tied the school-record for most wins at Virginia. The 1996 Cavaliers finished 44-21 overall. The loss drops Princeton's record to 28-20 on the season, 1-2 in the Charlottesville Regional.
Virginia will now advance to play in Game 6 against the #2 seeded Vanderbilt Commodores at 5:00 PM. Vanderbilt stands 2-0 and UVa is 2-1 in the Charlottesville Regional. Princeton was eliminated from the Regional with a record of 1-2.
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