No. 1 Virginia Baseball Downs NC State to Win Series
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The top-ranked Virginia baseball team picked up a 7-6 victory over North Carolina State Sunday afternoon to clinch a series win in front of 3,452 spectators at Davenport Field. With the win the Cavaliers earned their 13th straight ACC series victory, dating to a series loss at NC State April 2-4, 2010.
Virginia (40-4, 18-3 ACC) reached the 40-win plateau for the seventh time in the last eight seasons. UVa is the first team to reach 40 wins this year in Division I baseball. NC State fell to 24-18 and 9-12 in the ACC.
The Cavaliers picked up a dozen hits in the game, with five players racking up two apiece. The top four hitters in the UVa lineup all notched two hits each and combined to go 8-for-19. Steven Proscia (Jr., Suffern, N.Y.) was 2-for-4 with an RBI out of the cleanup slot as he matched Sean Doolittle (2005-07) for the UVa career RBI record with 167.
UVa was aggressive on the basepaths, stealing six bases, with leadoff batter Chris Taylor (So., Virginia Beach, Va.) swiping three.
All six of NC State’s runs came with two outs. Harold Riggins went 4-for-4, while Andrew Ciencin homered as part of a 3-for-4 outing.
Kyle Crockett (Fr., Poquoson, Va.) pitched 2.1 scoreless innings out of the bullpen to earn the win and improve to 3-0 this season. Branden Kline (So., Frederick, Md.) shut out the Wolfpack over the final 1.2 innings to notch his league-leading 13th save.
Virginia starting pitcher Will Roberts (Jr., Richmond, Va.) tossed 4.2 innings, giving up four earned runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out four. NC State starter Grant Sasser lasted 1.1 innings, allowing three earned runs, three hits and three walks.
Virginia jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, thanks to a four-run second inning, followed by a run in the third. After Colin Harrington (So., Johnstown, Pa.) led off the second inning with a walk and stole second, Mitchell Shifflett (Fr., Midlothian, Va.) doubled to right to score a run. One out later Shifflett advanced on a wild pitch and Taylor walked. Sasser was replaced by Grant Ogburn, who surrendered an RBI single to John Barr (Sr., Ivyland, Pa.) and a run-scoring double to John Hicks (Jr., Sandy Hook, Va.). Barr was thrown out at the plate on the Hicks double, but Proscia followed with an RBI single to left to give UVa a 4-0 edge.
The Cavaliers plated another run in the third inning. Harrington led off with a double, advanced on a Shifflett bunt single and scored on a Keith Werman (Jr., Vienna, Va.) safety squeeze.
NC State struck for four two-out hits in the fourth inning to score three times. With two outs and a 2-2 count, Riggins singled up the middle. Danny Canela followed with a double off the right-center field wall to plate a run, and Matt Bergquist then hit a run-scoring single. After Matt Diaz walked, John Gianis doubled to right field to easily score Bergquist, but Harrington, Werman and Hicks combined to cut down Diaz at the plate to keep the score at 5-3.
The Wolfpack added a run in the fifth inning on a two-out Ciencin solo home run into the left-field bleachers, his fifth homer of the year. That pitch was the last of the day from Roberts, who then was replaced by Crockett.
UVa responded in its half of the fifth as Shifflett drew a leadoff walk and stole second base. After a Werman sacrifice bunt, Taylor grounded to third, where Ciencin made a diving stop and threw to first from the seat of his pants, but Taylor slid headfirst around the tag of Riggins to reach base safely while Shifflett crossed the plate.
NC State cut the lead to 7-6 in the eighth on a two-out, two-run double by Gianis off Kline, who rebounded to strike out Brett Williams to leave Gianis stranded at second. The Wolfpack put runners on first and second with two outs in the ninth, but Kline induced Dylan Brown to ground out to first base to wrap up the Virginia win.
Virginia plays host to VCU at 6 p.m. Tuesday in its last home game in 17 days. The Cavaliers travel to Boston College next weekend in ACC action.