No. 1 Cavaliers' Rally Falls Short in 7-6 Loss at NC State
RALEIGH, N.C. – The top-ranked Virginia baseball team dropped its first series of the season with a 7-6 loss to NC State Sunday at Doak Field at Dail Park in Raleigh, N.C. Virginia scored two runs in the ninth inning to pull within a run, but it was not enough to overcome Andrew Ciencin’s seventh-inning grand slam which provided the final difference.
Virginia (23-6, 8-4 ACC) finished with 13 hits, led by John Hicks (So., Sandy Hook, Va.) with three hits, including two doubles. Steven Proscia (So., Suffern, N.Y.) added a pair of hits and scored three times. Proscia finished the series with seven hits in 12 at bats.
It was a day for the bullpens – neither starting pitcher lasted past the fourth inning. Tyler Wilson (Jr., Midlothian, Va.) took the loss for Virginia and fell to 3-2 after allowing the Ciencin grand slam. Anthony Tzamtzis (2-1) pitched the final 2.1 innings and earned the win for NC State (18-10, 5-7 ACC).
Chad O’Connor (R-Fr., Chesapeake, Va.) pitched a career-long 2.2 innings out of the bullpen for Virginia. He did not allow a run and gave up just a pair of hits and one walk while striking out one.
UVa starter Cody Winiarski (Jr., Fransville, Wis.) pitched 3.1 innings and allowed three earned runs and eight hits. NC State starter Alex Sogard pitched 2.1 innings and gave up two earned runs, five hits and two walks while striking out two.
Virginia got off to a quick start when Phil Gosselin (Jr., West Chester, Pa.) hit the third pitch of the game over the head of center fielder Kyle Wilson for a triple. Dan Grovatt (Jr., Tabernacle, N.J.) drove him home with a groundout to third base.
The Cavaliers tacked on a pair of third-inning runs while forcing Sogard from the game. With one out Proscia drew a walk. After Sogard struck out Jarrett Parker (Jr., Stafford, Va.), the Wolfpack brought Russell Wilson in to pitch in relief. He gave up a run-scoring single to Hicks, who then stole second and scored on a double to deep right-center field from John Barr (Jr., Ivyland, Pa.).
NC State scored two its own in the bottom of the third. With one out Matt Bergquist singled deep in the hole at shortstop. Winiarski then made an errant pickoff throw to first, moving Bergquist to second. Kyle Wilson followed with a triple high off the wall in right-center and scored on a sacrifice fly from Dallas Poulk.
The Wolfpack added a run in the fourth on a one-out home run by Chris Schaeffer. NC State put runners at first and third with one out before O’Connor struck out Kyle Wilson looking on a 3-2 pitch and catcher Franco Valdes (Sr., Miami, Fla.) threw out Bergquist, who was attempting to steal second base on the play.
Virginia scored a run in the fifth. Proscia doubled to lead off the inning and one out later Hicks doubled off the left-field wall.
The Wolfpack took its first lead in the seventh inning. NC State loaded the bases with two out, and Ciencin pounced on a 2-2 Wilson pitch and planted it over the left-field wall to give NC State a 7-4 lead.
Virginia made things very interesting in the ninth inning. Cannon led off with a single and moved to second when Grovatt walked. After Proscia grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Grovatt thrown out at second, Parker lifted a sacrifice fly to center field. Hicks followed with a double down the left-field line, and Proscia scored when left fielder Terran Senay bobbled the ball in the left-field corner. Barr then struck out on a check swing on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.
Virginia will play 10 of its next 11 games inside the friendly confines of Davenport Field. The Cavaliers start that stretch with midweek contests against James Madison and Radford at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.