No. 11 UVa Stuns No. 8 Ga. Tech with Six-Run Ninth, Wins 11-10
ATLANTA Trailing 10-5 entering the ninth inning, the No. 11 Virginia baseball team staged a huge rally, posting six runs in the inning to shock eighth-ranked Georgia Tech, 11-10, Saturday night at Russ Chandler Stadium. Keith Werman (Fr., Vienna, Va.) notched the deciding hit with a two-out single to score John Hicks (Fr., Sandy Hook, Va.).
The first five Virginia batters reached in the ninth inning against Yellow Jackets’ closer Mark Pope. The Cavaliers tied the game on a Hicks sacrifice fly, and he reached when center fielder Jeff Rowland dropped the ball. Werman, who came in with one hit in five prior ACC at bats, then slapped a base hit through the hole into left field and Hicks slid in safely to beat the throw to give the Wahoos the 11-10 advantage.
Virginia’s Jarrett Parker (So., Stafford, Va.) had a pair of hits, including his 11th home run, scored a career-high four runs and stole a pair of bases. The home run also was his seventh in 15 ACC games. He also has scored 56 runs this season and already is within four of the school single-season record of 60.
Dan Grovatt (So., Tabernacle, N.J.) added three hits, including a two-run home run, and drove in four. John Barr (So., Ivyland, Pa.), Tyler Cannon (Jr., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) and Phil Gosselin (So., West Chester, Pa.) each had two hits.
The Cavaliers’ rally offset a huge night for the Yellow Jackets’ Luke Murton, who hit two home runs, including a three-run blast in the seventh inning, while driving in four runs.
UVa reliever Shane Halley (Fr., Burke, Va.) earned the win after tossing 1.1 innings. After pitching 18 scoreless innings to start his career, Halley (3-0) allowed four earned runs and four hits but still notched the win. Kevin Arico (So., Flemington, N.J.) tossed a scoreless ninth inning to nab his third save.
Georgia Tech reliever Mark Pope, the sixth of seven Yellow Jacket pitchers, allowed six runs (five earned), four hits and two walks and fell to 4-1 with the loss.
Virginia starting pitcher Andrew Carraway (Sr., Marietta, Ga.), playing in front of a host of family and friends as he returned to his home state, rebounded from a slow start and went 6.1 innings, allowing six earned runs, eight hits and two walks and struck out eight. He threw 40 pitches and gave up two runs in the first inning, then settled down before leaving with a 5-4 lead in the seventh inning.
Georgia Tech starter Zach Von Tersch pitched five innings, allowing four earned runs, nine hits and two walks while striking out four.
Virginia (28-7, 9-6 ACC) got off to a solid start in the first inning, as Parker led off with a walk, stole second and scored with two out when Grovatt turned around a 2-2 hanging curveball for a home run to right field. The long ball was Grovatt’s fifth of the season.
Georgia Tech (21-8, 10-5) responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first on a Tony Plagman two-run single. The Yellow Jackets loaded the bases with two out, but Carraway escaped the jam by striking out Thomas Nichols on a 3-2 pitch.
Virginia added a run in the third inning, with Grovatt striking again with an RBI single to score Parker. Georgia Tech tied the game in the bottom of the inning as Murton went opposite field with a solo home run to right-center field.
The Cavaliers grabbed the lead back with a run in the fifth inning when Danny Hultzen (Fr., Bethesda, Md.) singled to score Corey Hunt (R-So., Charlottesville, Va.), who singled and stole second to start the inning.
Virginia tacked on a run in the seventh inning when Parker, after he just missed a home run by a few feet on the pitch prior, launched a booming moonshot high over the trees in right-center field. The home run was Parker’s second in as many nights.
Georgia Tech stormed back in the bottom of the seventh to take its first lead, getting its first run on a single from Jason Haniger before Murton had the big blast, a two-out, three-run home run to right-center off Halley.
The Yellow Jackets added three in the eighth inning. Nichols singled with one out and advanced to third on a two-base fielding error by Grovatt in right field. He scored on the next pitch on a single by Chris House. With two out, Haniger hit a double to left-center to score a pair of runs.
In the ninth inning, UVa’s first five batters reached base. Parker walked to lead off and Gosselin followed with a single. Hultzen walked to load the bases, and Grovatt followed with a single to left to plate Parker. Proscia followed with a line drive down the left-field line to score two more before Cannon grounded to second to bring Hultzen in and cut the lead to 10-9. Hicks then hit a sacrifice fly to center but reached second base when the ball was dropped by Rowland. He scored the go-ahead run on Werman’s single to left.
The teams will play the rubber game of the three-game series at 1 p.m. Sunday.