CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Junior third baseman Steven Proscia belted the game-winning hit, driving in John Hicks to lift the No. 5 Virginia Cavaliers (18-1, 4-0 ACC) to a 4-3 triumph over the No. 4 Florida State Seminoles (15-3, 3-1 ACC), Friday night, inside Davenport Field.
The 11th inning started out with little fanfare, as Florida State's reliever Daniel Bennett quickly retired Chris Taylor (So., Virginia Beach, Va.) and John Barr (Sr., Ivyland, Pa.) to start the frame. John Hicks (Jr., Sandy Hook, Va.) roped a ball to left that slammed off the left field wall for a two-out double. UVa starting pitcher Danny Hultzen (Jr., Bethesda, Md.), who entered the batting order in the designated hitter spot after he finished pitching in the seventh, was intentionally walked to create the force play at every bag. Proscia (Jr., Suffern, N.Y.) stepped to the plate and drove a ball over Seth Miller's head in left field, scoring Hicks and securing the victory.
Hultzen received the no decision, but he went 7.0 innings and struck out 12 batters, giving the junior 292 strikeouts for his career and breaking the program record of 290 set by Seth Greisinger (1994-96). Hultzen scattered six hits and allowed three runs, two of which were earned. The left-handed pitcher has now accumulated at least 10 strikeouts in all five of his starts this season and has accomplished the feat 12 times in his career. He is 10-0 all-time with two no decisions when striking out at least 10 batters.
Florida State became the first team all year to hold a lead on UVa starting LHP Danny Hultzen, when it took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Devon Travis led things off with an infield single, beating out Taylor's throw to first. Travis advanced to second on a passed ball with one out and moved to third on a single up the middle by Mike McGee. James Ramsey hit the ball sharply to Keith Werman (Jr., Vienna, Va.) at second base, who made the error trying to start the double play, scoring Travis.
The Seminoles' 1-0 lead lasted a half inning, as Virginia quickly tied the game at 1-1. Barr blasted a one-out triple into the left-center gap. Hicks wasted no time, lacing a line drive to center field for the sacrifice fly.
Florida State touched Hultzen for an earned run in the top of the second, taking a 2-1 lead. Justin Gonzalez hit a one-out triple to the right-center and scored when Seth Miller grounded out to second base.
McGee tallied his second hit of the game when he lofted a solo home run to left, giving FSU the 3-1 advantage. Florida State's starting pitcher Sean Gilmartin kept motoring, retiring 12-straight Cavaliers after yielding UVa's first run. Reed Gragnani (So., Richmond, Va.) broke that streak with a single in the fifth, but was stranded at first.
Virginia broke through in the bottom of the seventh inning, tying the game at 3-3. Hicks singled to center field to start things off. Proscia hit a one-out double to left field, scoring Hicks. Kenny Swab (Sr., Kernersville, N.C.) smoked a ball to center field for an out, but it was deep enough to move Proscia to third, who then scored on Gragnani's RBI single up the middle.
The score stayed knotted at 3-3 for the next three full innings. Hultzen was lifted in the eighth inning for Whit Mayberry (So., Alexandria, Va.), who managed to get one out, while walking a batter and allowing a hit. Justin Thompson (Jr., Danville, Va.) came on in relief and quickly worked out of the jam in the eighth inning. Thompson also went three up and three down in the ninth and the 10th, courtesy of a couple double play ground balls. UVa didn't get a runner past first base in the eighth, ninth or 10th innings, before winning it in the 11th.
Thompson picked his first win of the season to move his record to 1-0, as the junior tossed 3.2 scoreless innings, allowing one hit, walking two and striking three. FSU's Bennett picked up his first loss of the season, falling to 0-1 on the season. The FSU reliever was stellar over 3.1 innings, allowing his only two hits on the last two batters he faced. Bennett walked three and struck out four.
Virginia and Florida State return to Davenport Field on Saturday for game No. 2 of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. and there will be a live video stream on VirginiaSports.com.
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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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