Feb. 12, 2005
WILMINGTON, N.C. – The #27/#32 ranked University of Virginia baseball team recorded a 2-0 shutout victory over the UNC Wilmington Seahawks in a non-conference game at UNCW’s Brooks Field. UVa starting pitcher Mike Ballard threw 7.0 scoreless innings and struck out a game-high six batters while the Cavaliers’ duo of Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Darby each went 2-for-4 at the plate with one RBI apiece to pace Virginia to its first win of the season.
Ballard, pitching for the first time since the 2003 season, showed no signs of being slowed down from an injury two years ago and picked right up where he left off as a weekend starter in UVa’s rotation. Ballard allowed just two hits after facing 24 batters and held the Seahawk batters quite all afternoon.
“The story of the game for us today was Mike Ballard,” said Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor. “He hasn’t pitched in over a year and a half and came back after Tommy John surgery. To see a player go out there and throw a great game against a good ballclub in a tough environment when we needed it was special. Ballard was just very dominating out there today.”
After playing through six scoreless innings of baseball, Virginia plated the first two runs of the game and took its first lead of the three-game series. In the top of the seventh inning with the bases loaded and one out, UVa’s Ryan Zimmerman laced an RBI-single through the left side of the infield to drive in Kyle Werman from third base to make it a 1-0 contest. The Cavaliers extended their lead to 2-0 one batter later when Josh Darby sent an RBI-single up the middle to score Matt Street from second base, giving Virginia a 2-0 advantage.
In the critical seventh inning, the Cavaliers made their opponent pay for its mistakes. Like it did time and time again last season (2004), UVa converted its opposition’s mishaps into scoring opportunities as the Cavaliers turned two of UNC Wilmington’s four errors in the contest into runs. Both runs scored by Virginia’s Werman and Street were aided by UNCW errors.
UVa’s Ballard (1-0) picked up the win on the mound, his first victory since recording a win on April 5, 2003 in Clemson, S.C. against the Clemson Tigers. The Cavaliers’ Casey Lambert posted his first save of the season after tossing 1.0 inning and struck out two batters. First-year Michael Schwimer made his first collegiate appearance and threw 1.0 inning and also posted his first collegiate strikeout.
UNCW starting pitcher Ronald Hill tossed 6.0 scoreless innings and stuck out two batters in a non-decision. The Seahawks’ Andrew Morgan (0-1) walked one batter and committed an error to pick up the loss after facing just two batters.
With the victory, Virginia’s record improves to 1-1 on the season. The loss drops UNC Wilmington’s record to 3-1 on the year. The three-game series between UVa and UNCW is now tied at 1-1.
The Cavaliers and Seahawks will return to action on Sunday, February 13 to play the third and final contest of the three-game weekend series. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM at UNCW’s Brooks Field.
— UVa —