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ATLANTA Franco Valdes (Jr., Miami, Fla.) hit the game-tying single in the top of the ninth inning as the No. 11 Virginia baseball team finished in a 4-4 tie with No. 8 Georgia Tech Sunday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium. The game was called after nine innings because of ACC travel policy.

The tie is Virginia’s first since a 14-14 deadlock with Old Dominion on Feb. 16, 2000. It was Georgia Tech’s first tie since March 27, 1985.

It was a fitting end to a close series. All three contests were decided in the ninth inning. In the first game Saturday, Georgia Tech scored a run to break a 6-6 tie and win 7-6. In the second game, UVa rallied from a 10-5 ninth-inning deficit to score six times and pull out an 11-10 win.

Dan Grovatt (So., Tabernacle, N.J.) had three hits and an RBI for Virginia, who finished with 10 hits. Three of Virginia’s four runs came on two-out hits.

Both starting pitchers were impressive. Virginia’s Robert Morey (So., Virginia Beach, Va.), making his first career start, pitched a career-high 5.2 innings. He allowed just two earned runs, three hits and a walk while striking out four. Georgia Tech starter Brandon Cumpton was strong as well, going seven innings and striking out nine. He allowed three earned runs, six hits and a walk.

The ninth inning again served as the game’s focal point. Tyler Cannon (Jr., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) led off with a walk and stole second. He moved to third when John Hicks (Fr., Sandy Hook, Va.) hit a line drive off the leg of pitcher Andrew Robinson for a single. Valdes then dropped a single to right field to tie the score. UVa loaded the bases with one out, but Georgia Tech reliever Kevin Jacob came on to strike out Phil Gosselin (So., West Chester, Pa.) on a check swing and get Danny Hultzen (Fr., Bethesda, Md.) to fly out to end the threat.

Kevin Arico (So., Flemington, N.J.) kept the Yellow Jackets at bay by pitching a perfect ninth inning. He tossed 1.1 innings total and struck out three.

After three scoreless innings to start the game, Virginia (28-7-1, 9-6-1 ACC) broke the stalemate with a run in the fourth. With one out, Gosselin recorded the Cavaliers’ first hit of the day a single to right field. He then stole second and, with two out, scored on a single to center by Grovatt.

Georgia Tech (21-8-1, 10-5-1) countered with a run of its own in the fourth. Derek Dietrich walked with one out, then stole second and advanced to third when the throw from Valdes at catcher bounced into center field. Dietrich scored on a single by Luke Murton.

The Cavaliers came right back with a run in the fifth inning. Cannon singled and advanced on a Valdes groundout. He scored on a single to right-center by David Coleman (So., Richmond, Va.).

UVa doubled its lead in the sixth inning, as Hulzen walked with two out, moved to third on a Grovatt single to right and scored when Steven Proscia (Fr., Suffern, N.Y.) singled to right.

Georgia Tech cut the lead half in its portion of the sixth. Jeff Rowland tripled to lead off, but Morey rebounded to get Dietrich to line out and strike out Jason Haniger looking. Matt Packer (Jr., Germantown, Tenn.) came on in relief and gave up a single to Tony Plagman to score Rowland.

The Yellow Jackets took their first lead in the eighth inning against UVa reliever Neal Davis (Jr., Baltimore, Md.). After walks to Rowland and Haniger, Plagman stepped up with two out and hit a line drive which went over the head of Coleman in left field for a double.

Virginia returns home to Davenport Field for two games next week. Tuesday, the Cavaliers will battle No. 19 Coastal Carolina at 5 p.m. UVa then plays Radford at 7 p.m. Wednesday before traveling to Boston College next weekend.

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