Virginia Scores Two in Eighth to Top Virginia Tech, 4-2
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – John Hicks (So., Sandy Hook, Va.) singled to score Dan Grovatt (Jr., Tabernacle, N.J.) to break an eighth-inning tie and lift the top-ranked Virginia baseball team to a 4-2 win over No. 20 Virginia Tech Friday evening in front of packed house of 4,219 fans at Davenport Field.
Virginia Tech (24-12, 8-8 ACC) had tied the game in the top of the eighth on a Andrew Rash solo home run, but Virginia (28-8, 11-5) scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning off Hokies’ closer Ben Rowen with Hicks’ single and a Phil Gosselin (Jr., West Chester, Pa.) RBI fielder’s choice.
Tyler Wilson (Jr., Midlothian, Va.) pitched a perfect eighth inning to pick up the win and improve to 4-2 this season. Kevin Arico (Jr., Flemington, N.J.) fired a scoreless ninth inning to notch his NCAA-leading 12th save of the year.
Virginia’s Danny Hultzen (So., Bethesda, Md.) and Virginia Tech’s Justin Wright locked up in a pitchers’ duel for much of the evening, although neither received a decision.
Hultzen worked seven innings and pitched to the first batter in the eighth. He allowed two earned runs, seven hits and no walks while striking out 10. He recorded his sixth career double-figure strikeout game and his fourth this year.
Wright tossed 6.1 innings and allowed two earned runs, four hits and six walks while striking out five. Rowen (2-1) took the loss after allowing two earned runs in the eighth – he entered the game with a 0.67 ERA and had allowed just two earned runs all season.
Gosselin and Steven Proscia (So., Suffern, N.Y.) each had two hits for Virginia, which finished with seven hits in the contest.
Virginia Tech struck quickly for a first-inning run. Steve Domecus lined the game’s first pitch to left-center for a standup triple, then scored on a bloop single by Sean Ryan.
The Cavaliers forged ahead in the third inning. With one out John Barr (Jr., Ivyland, Pa.) drew a walk. Gosselin followed with a double just inside third base and down the left-field line. After Tyler Cannon (Sr., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) walked to load the bases, Stephen Bruno (Fr., Audubon, N.J.) struck out for the second out before Proscia and Grovatt each coaxed walks on 3-2 pitches to give UVa a 2-1 lead.
Virginia Tech struck against Hultzen in the eighth inning when Andrew Rash led off with a home run to right-center field, which spelled the end of the night for Hultzen.
Virginia answered in its half of the eighth against Rowen. Grovatt led off with a single up the middle. He then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Domecus. Hicks followed with an opposite-field single to right field to score Grovatt and give UVa a 3-2 lead. Parker then doubled down the left-field line to move Hicks to third. One out later pinch hitter Keith Werman (So., Vienna, Va.) was hit by a pitch. Gosselin then hit a grounder to first baseman Ronnie Shaban, who booted the ball for an error, with Hicks scoring on the play.
The teams return to Davenport Field at 4 p.m. Saturday for the second game of the series, while the finale will be played at 1 p.m. Sunday. Both of the remaining games in the series are sold out, although admissions have been held for students similar to what is done for football and men’s basketball games. Once the stadium’s capacity is reached, student admissions will end.