CLEMSON, S.C. – The No. 6 Virginia baseball team finished off a three-game sweep of No. 4 Clemson with a 7-6 victory Sunday afternoon at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson, S.C. In winning their 10th straight game this year, the Cavaliers (16-1, 3-0 ACC) recorded their first-ever three-game sweep in Clemson as UVa improved to 17-4 against the Tigers since 2004.
Steven Proscia (Jr., Suffern, N.Y.) homered and doubled as part of a 4-for-5, three-RBI day to lead the Cavaliers’ offense. Chris Taylor (So., Virginia Beach, Va.) recorded three hits, while John Hicks (Jr., Sandy Hook, Va.) and Danny Hultzen (Jr., Bethesda, Md.) each went 2-for-5 with a run scored and RBI each.
In the Cavaliers’ longest game of the year (three hours, 31 minutes), Virginia used seven pitchers while Clemson sent four to the mound. The first Cavalier out of the bullpen, Corey Hunt (Sr., Charlottesville, Va.) notched the win and improved to 1-0 this year with 1.2 scoreless innings of relief. Branden Kline (Jr., Frederick, Md.) worked the final two frames to notch his seventh save in as many opportunities. The Cavaliers’ bullpen held Clemson to two runs (one earned) and five hits over 7.1 innings.
Neither starting pitcher made it out of the third inning. Virginia starter Cody Winiarski (Sr., Franksville, Wis.) struggled with his control, consistently falling behind batters as he made the shortest start of his UVa career, 1.1 innings. He allowed four runs (three earned), three hits and two walks while striking out two.
Clemson starter David Haselden (1-1) worked 2.1 innings, giving up five runs (four earned), six hits and a walk in taking the loss. He did not record a strikeout. Jonathan Meyer worked the final five innings for Clemson (7-6, 0-3) and held UVa scoreless. Will Lamb posted three hits for the Tigers.
Virginia bolted out of the gates with a three-run first inning. Taylor ripped the game’s first pitch into left for a single. Keith Werman (Jr., Vienna, Va.) bunted and reached when Haselden dropped the throw while covering first. Hicks followed with a hit-and-run single to score Taylor. One out later, Proscia and Kenny Swab (Sr., Kernersville, N.C.) hit back-to-back RBI singles.
Clemson responded in the second inning by batting around and scoring four runs while quickly knocking Winiarski from the game. Chris Epps drew a leadoff walk and Spencer Kieboom was plunked by a pitch, and both runners advanced when Winiarski fired a pickoff attempt wildly to second base – one of four errors for the normally sure-handed Cavaliers. John Hinson smoked a single to right to plate Epps and one out later Steve Wilkerson walked to load the bases. Dominic Attanasio hit an infield single to plate Kieboom. Lamb then grounded to second base, but Werman booted it for an error, allowing Hinson to score and leaving the bases full. Hunt came on in relief, and Jeff Schaus hit a sacrifice fly to left-center to bring in Wilkerson and give Clemson a 4-3 advantage.
UVa quickly took the lead back for good in the third inning. Hultzen singled with one out and scored when Proscia launched a home run into the bleachers in left-center field. The home run not only was Proscia’s first of the year, but it also was Virginia’s first as a team in 2011.
Hicks singled to left on the first pitch of the fifth inning, stole second on the next pitch and then scored on a single to right by Hultzen. Proscia followed with a single before combining with Hultzen on a double steal. Hultzen scored on a wild pitch to push the lead to 7-4, but Reed Gragnani (So., Richmond, Va.) grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning and prevent further damage.
Clemson took advantage of a pair of UVa miscues in the sixth to cut a run from the lead. Facing Virginia freshman reliever Kyle Crockett (Poquoson, Va.), Attanasio reached to start the inning when Taylor bobbled a high chopper. Lamb then reached on an infield single and both runners advanced when Hicks’ throw to the covering Crockett was errant. Schaus followed by ripping a ball which ricocheted off Crockett and over to Werman at second for a 1-4-3 groundout, with Attanasio scoring on the play.
Shaffer led off the Tigers’ half of the ninth with a double down the left-field line. He advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a Kieboom groundout. Kline buckled down to whiff Hinson to end the game.
Virginia returns home Tuesday for a 5 p.m. contest with No. 27 James Madison at Davenport Field. The Cavaliers will play their home ACC opener next weekend against No. 5 Florida State.