HARRISONBURG, Va. – The Virginia baseball team cranked out 17 hits in a 14-6 victory at James Madison Tuesday in chilly conditions at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park. UVa (7-4-1) fell behind 6-3 after a six-run JMU fourth inning, but the offense came alive to score 11 unanswered runs while the pitching staff held the Dukes hitless over the final five frames.
Jared King (Sr., Radford, Va.) and Mike Papi (Fr., Tunkhannock, Pa.) each picked up three hits, while Brandon Downes (Fr., South Plainfield, N.J.) had a pair of hits and knocked in four runs. Stephen Bruno (Jr., Audubon, N.J.) scored four runs and had two hits. The top seven hitters in UVa’s batting order all had at least two hits.
Virginia reliever Austin Young (So.,, Mechanicsville, Va.) pitched three shutout innings out of the bullpen. Young (1-0) faced nine batters and struck out four while not allowing a hit in earning the win. Barrett O’Neill (Fr., Ashland, Mass.) and Joel Effertz (Jr., Ladysmith, Wis.) each tossed a perfect inning to finish off the win. UVa starter Artie Lewicki (So., Wyckoff, N.J.) fired 3.2 innings, allowing four earned runs, two hits and three walks with three strikeouts.
JMU reliever Cody Miller (1-1) gave up four earned runs in the fifth inning and was saddled with the loss. Dukes’ starter Aaron Hoover worked 4.0 innings, allowing three runs (two earned), five hits and two walks while striking out one.
Virginia started quickly with a pair of first-inning runs. UVa parlayed a pair of misplayed bunts into the first score; Chris Taylor (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) reached on a two-base throwing error to start the inning after his bunt to third base, and he scored when Colin Harrington (Jr., Johnstown, Pa.) bunted in front of the plate and catcher Bradley Shaban chucked the ball down the line. Harrington was credited with a single but was thrown out trying to advance a base. Bruno, Papi and King then hit consecutive singles to score another run.
UVa added a run in the third inning. With one out King hit a sinking line drive to right field that bounced in front of Ian Haynes and then skipped past him and bounced all the way to the wall. King picked up a triple on the play and scored when Downes hit a grounder to shortstop.
JMU (5-6-1) used a two-out rally to score six runs in the fourth inning. The inning started innocently enough, as Lewicki quickly retired the first two batters, but he struggled to find the strike zone from there and walked the bases loaded. Chad Carroll then hit a chopper to first and, with a headfirst slide, beat the throw to Lewicki, with two runs scoring on the play. Reliever Ryan Ashooh (So., Clifton, Va.) came in and walked Cole McInturff on four pitches to load the bases, and Ryan Kilmon cranked a single back up the middle to score a pair. Pinch hitter Evan Scott then drilled a double to center to score two more and give JMU a 6-3 lead.
UVa trimmed two runs from the lead in the fifth. Bruno cranked a leadoff double to left-center and two outs later Downes ripped a triple to left-center. Derek Fisher (Fr., Rexmont, Pa.) hit the next pitch up the middle for a single to bring Downes home.
The Cavaliers moved back ahead by batting around in a four-run sixth inning. Keith Werman (Sr., Vienna, Va.) led off with a walk and, after Taylor grounded out to move Werman over, Harrington hit an infield single to push Werman to third, and he scored on a wild pitch. Bruno was hit by a pitch and Papi followed with a run-scoring single to right. King was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Against reliever Trent Cundiff, Downes fell in an 0-2 hole before working the count full. On the 3-2 pitch he ripped a single to left, scoring two runs to give UVa a 9-6 lead.
UVa again batted around and scored four times in the seventh inning, pushing the lead to 13-6. With one out Taylor hit a solo homer to left – his third of the year. Harrington and Bruno each were plunked by pitches, and Papi followed with an RBI single to right. Bruno then came home on a wild pitch, and Papi followed him home when King singled to center.
The Cavaliers tacked on a run in the eighth when Harrington hit a sacrifice fly to score Taylor, who tripled with one out.
Virginia returns home this weekend to open ACC play with a three-game series against Virginia Tech. The Cavaliers and Hokies will play at 5 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.