No. 1 Virginia Baseball Topples Towson, 8-5
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The top-ranked Virginia baseball team scored an 8-5 win over Towson Tuesday at Davenport Field. Kenny Swab (Jr., Kernersville, N.C.) went 3-for-3 and reached base safely in all five of his trips to the plate, while the Cavaliers’ bullpen buckled down to retire 14 of the final 15 Towson batters to seal the win.
Shane Halley (So., Burke, Va.), the first of three UVa relievers, pitched three innings to earn the win and improve to 1-0 this season. Justin Thompson (So., Danville, Va.) pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts before Kevin Arico (Jr., Flemington, N.J.) tossed a scoreless ninth inning to notch his ACC-best ninth save of the season.
Swab doubled, scored twice and drove in two to highlight the Cavaliers’ offense. Keith Werman (So., Vienna, Va.), John Hicks (So., Sandy Hook, Va.) and Stephen Bruno (Fr., Audubon, N.J.) each had two-hit nights for Virginia (21-4). Tyler Cannon (Sr., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) went 0-for-4 as his career-best 16-game hit streak came to a halt.
Towson (5-19) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead against UVa starting pitcher Branden Kline (Fr., Frederick, Md.), who gave up four earned runs and seven hits over three innings. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. Towson relief pitcher Tyler Bugna (0-1) was credited with the defeat after allowing five earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.
Towson parlayed a leadoff Ben Winter double into a first-inning run to grab the early lead. Steve Yarsinsky hit a fly ball out to left to move Winter to third, and Kevin Collins dropped a single into short right field to score the run.
The Tigers added a run in the second, as Kurt Wertz singled with one out and scored on a triple just inside the left-field line by Nick Natoli. Towson then pushed its lead to 4-0 in the third on a solo home run by Steve Yarsinsky and a two-out RBI single by Chris Wychock.
Virginia began its comeback with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning against starter Sean Bertrand, as the eight- and nine-hole hitters in the batting order keyed the rally. Bruno led off and singled to left and Chris Taylor (Fr., Virginia Beach, Va.) followed with a double to right field. Phil Gosselin (Jr., West Chester, Pa.) then hit a sacrifice fly to right-center to score Bruno, and Werman followed with an RBI single to center to slice the lead to 4-2.
UVa chipped away in the fourth inning. Swab led off with a double and Jarrett Parker (Jr., Stafford, Va.) followed with a four-pitch walk. After a Cannon sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, John Hicks stroked a single, which was trapped by diving center fielder Ben Winter for a single, scoring Swab.
Towson got a run back in the fifth inning. Brian Wyman and Winter hit consecutive singles to lead off the inning, and Yarsinsky followed with a fly out to right field which advanced Wyman to third. Collins then reached on a fielder’s choice to plate Wyman and give Towson a 5-3 lead.
The Cavaliers took the lead with a five-run fifth inning against Bugna, who had just entered the game. Gosselin led off with a single and stole second. Werman then singled to right-center to move Gosselin to third, and he stole second as well. After a Dan Grovatt (Jr., Tabernacle, N.J.) walk loaded the bases, Swab singled up the middle to score two runs and tie the game. Both runners advanced on the throw to the plate. Parker then grounded out to shortstop to score Grovatt and move Swab to third.
With the infield pulled in, Cannon grounded to first. Swab was stuck in a rundown between third and home, but wiggled out of the situation and got back to third safely on a late rundown throw while Cannon advanced to second. This proved to be critical when Hicks followed with a sac fly and Bruno singled to left-center to give the Cavaliers an 8-5 advantage.
Virginia and Towson play the back end of their two-game series at 5 p.m. Wednesday.