CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The 23rd-ranked Virginia baseball team finished off a three-game ACC series sweep of Wake Forest with an 11-2 victory Monday evening at Davenport Field. Virginia (22-10-1, 9-6 ACC) won its 14th-consecutive home game as well as its eighth-straight ACC home contest. UVa also claimed its 16th-consecutive ACC home series, dating to March 2009.
Virginia relief pitcher Kyle Crockett (So., Poquoson, Va.) gave the Cavaliers 4.0 scoreless innings, giving up just one hit while fanning two. Crockett earned the win to improve to 3-2 this season. Justin Thompson (Sr., Danville, Va.) worked out a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth inning and pitched the final 1.2 innings to notch his sixth save. The UVa bullpen allowed just one run in 12.1 innings in the series.
Wake Forest starting pitcher Brian Holmes worked 5.0 innings, giving up three runs (two earned), four hits and six walks. He struck out eight but was tagged with his first loss of the season as he fell to 5-1.
UVa starter Artie Lewicki (So., Wyckoff, N.J.) tossed 3.1 innings, allowing two earned runs, six hits and no walks while striking out one.
The Cavaliers finished with 11 hits, with seven coming in UVa’s last three innings at the plate. The top third of the Cavaliers’ batting order, Chris Taylor (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.), Colin Harrington (Jr., Johnstown, Pa.) and Stephen Bruno (Jr., Audubon, N.J.) combined for six of Virginia’s hits, with each picking up two knocks. Nate Irving (Fr., Yonkers, N.Y.) tripled and drove in four runs for UVa.
Virginia took the early lead with a first-inning run. Taylor led off with a single, and after a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch, he scored on a two-out single to left by Jared King (Sr., Radford, Va.).
After getting the leadoff runner on base in each of the first three innings, Wake Forest (19-14, 5-10) broke through in the third. Brett Armour led off with a single and moved to second on an Evan Stephens sacrifice. With two outs, Conor Keniry and Mac Williamson hit back-to-back RBI doubles to give the Demon Deacons a 2-1 edge. Crockett entered the game with one out and a runner on second in the fourth inning and retired the final two batters to escape the jam.
Virginia forged ahead with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Harrington pulled an 0-2 pitch into left field for a leadoff single, and Bruno followed with a walk. One out later Derek Fisher (Fr., Rexmont, Pa.) worked a walk. After Nick Howard (Fr., Olney, Md.) struck out, Irving hit a slow grounder to second; Keniry attempted to make a swipe tag but missed Fisher as he ran toward second, and all hands were safe, with Harrington scoring. Bruno then came home on a passed ball by Armour.
The Cavaliers tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning. With one out Taylor singled to center and promptly stole second base. Harrington followed with a double to left-center, scoring Taylor, and Harrington advanced a base when Williamson misplayed the ball in center. The error proved key when Bruno hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Harrington with UVa’s fifth run.
Crockett retired 11 of 12 batters from the fourth through seventh innings. Wake Forest loaded the bases with one out in the eighth inning against Howard before Thompson entered the game. Thompson froze Charlie Morgan to strike him out for the second out, and then got Mark Rhine to hit weakly to Werman at second base for the force out to end the inning.
Virginia blew the game open by batting around in a six-run eighth inning. Werman led off with a bunt single and moved to second on a passed ball. He advanced to third on a Taylor groundout, but Harrington lined to first for the second out.
The next five UVa batters reached safely. Bruno singled to center to plate the first run. A King walk and Fisher hit by pitch loaded the bases. Pinch hitter Brandon Downes (Fr., South Plainfield, N.J.) legged out an infield single up to score Bruno, and Irving capped the inning with a bases-clearing triple to left-center. He scored when the relay throw to third base was errant and caromed into the UVa dugout.
Virginia continues its nine-game homestand at 6 p.m. Wednesday when it plays host to George Washington.