No. 14 Baseball Wins Tournament Opener vs. Clemson, 6-5
DURHAM, N.C. The No. 14 Virginia baseball team rallied from four runs down, then used near-flawless relief pitching from Andrew Carraway (Sr., Marietta, Ga.) and Kevin Arico (So., Flemington, N.J.) to pull out a 6-5 win over No. 13 Clemson at the ACC Baseball Championship Thursday evening at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C. UVa is seeded No. 6 in the tournament, while Clemson is the No. 3 seed.<?xml:namespace prefix=”o” ns=”urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office”?>
“That is a great win for this team,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “Clemson has a very good ball club this year and they are looking for their 40th win this year too. Our kids just continued to fight and battle even when we fell down early in the game. Our hitters continued to compete and Andrew Carraway came in and did a great job out of the bullpen for us to give us a chance to win the game.”
The victory is the Cavaliers’ 40th this season, as UVa reached the 40-win plateau for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Jarrett Parker (So., Stafford, Va.) and John Hicks (Fr., Sandy Hook, Va.) each homered, while Parker, Danny Hultzen (Fr., Bethesda, Md.), Dan Grovatt (So., Tabernacle, N.J.) and Steven Proscia (Fr., Suffern, N.Y.) each went recorded a pair of hits.
Carraway (6-1) was brilliant while making his first appearance out of the bullpen this season. He pitched 4.1 innings, giving up just one hit while striking out seven. Carraway retired the first 12 batters he faced before giving up a two-out double to Brad Miller in the eighth inning. Arico set the side down in order in the ninth to earn his ninth save fifth-most in a single season in UVa history.
Clemson reliever Scott Weismann (2-1) took the loss after allowing two runs (one earned), two hits and a walk in two-thirds of an inning. Clemson starter Trey Delk worked 4.1 innings, giving up four earned runs, six hits and two walks while fanning six.
Virginia starting pitcher Matt Packer (Jr., Germantown, Tenn.) tossed 3.2 innings, giving up five earned runs, six hits and three walks while striking out five.
UVa trailed 4-0 in the fourth inning before scoring a pair of runs in the fourth and four in the fifth to take the lead.
Playing UVa for the first time since the 2007 season, Clemson (39-18) grabbed the early lead with a run in the second inning. Kyle Parker and Wilson Boyd led off with consecutive singles and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by John Nester. Brad Miller then reached on an error by Hicks at first, while Parker scored on the play.
In the third inning, Clemson tacked on three runs. The Tigers loaded the bases with none out and after Packer struck out Parker, Boyd singled to right to score a pair of runs. Nester followed with a sacrifice fly to push the lead to 4-0.
Virginia (40-12-1) sliced the lead in half in the fourth inning. Proscia led off with an infield single and scored when Hicks homered off the bull sign high atop the Blue Monster in left field. The blast was Hicks’ seventh of the season and UVa’s first in an ACC Baseball Championship game since May 25, 2006, when Brandon Marsh hit a solo home run against NC State in Jacksonville.
Clemson added a run in its half of the fourth, as Chris Epps doubled to lead off, then stole third and scored on a Mike Freeman sacrifice fly.
The Cavaliers took the lead with a four-run fifth inning. Parker led off with a solo home run over the Blue Monster. It was Parker’s 16th home run of the season, tying him with Joe Koshansky (2004) for third in a single season at Virginia.
One out later, Hultzen singled. He stole second and advanced to third on the play on a throwing error by Nester. Grovatt singled to center to score Hultzen and cut the lead to one. Proscia then drove a ball to the wall in left-center and legged out a triple to score Grovatt. On the relay to third base, Miller threw the ball away, allowing Proscia to come home with the go-ahead run.
Virginia next plays at 8 p.m. Friday against second-seeded North Carolina.