CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 23 Virginia baseball team scored 16 unanswered runs to climb out of an early four-run hole and defeat George Washington, 16-4, Wednesday evening at Davenport Field. UVa (23-10-1) captured its 15th-straight home victory.
George Washington (12-20) scored four runs in the first inning, but UVa scored runs in each of the first four innings, capped by a nine-run fourth inning, to bounce back and roll to its fifth straight win.
Despite posting 16 runs UVa recorded only 10 hits, but the Cavaliers took advantage of four GW errors, six walks and three hit batsmen. Branden Cogswell (Fr., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) scored four times, while Jared King (Sr., Radford, Va.) and Chris Taylor (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) each knocked in three runs.
After allowing only one run in 12.1 innings in the three-game sweep of Wake Forest, Virginia’s bullpen was stellar once again with 8.1 shutout innings and 13 strikeouts. Shane Halley (Sr., Burke, Va.) worked 3.1 innings and allowed just a hit and a walk while striking out three. He earned the win to improve to 4-1 this year. Nick Howard (Fr., Olney, Md.), Nathaniel Abel (Fr., Haymarket, Va.) and Joel Effertz (Jr., Ladysmith, Va.) combined to shut the Colonials out on three hits over the final 5.0 innings.
GW starting pitcher J.T. Wauford (2-3) tossed 2.0 innings, allowing five runs (four earned), one hits and two walks in taking the loss. UVa starter Barrett O’Neill (Fr., Ashland, Mass.) lasted two-thirds of an inning and gave up four earned runs before Halley entered the game.
Virginia spotted George Washington four first-inning runs. Derek Brown led off with a single and promptly scored on a Brett Bowers double, although Bowers was thrown out at second after straying too far off the bag. With two outs Stephen Oswald homered to right. O’Neill then walked Owen Beightol before Jimmy Best hit an RBI double. Ryan Hickey walked, and Ryan Thomas’ run-scoring single gave GW a 4-0 lead and spelled the end of the evening for O’Neill, who was replaced by Halley.
UVa scored five runs over the next three innings but needed just two hits to do so. The Cavaliers chipped a run from the lead in the first on a Stephen Bruno (Jr., Audubon, N.J.) sacrifice fly, scoring Cogswell, who hit a one-out triple. The Cavaliers cut another run from the lead in the second on a Mitchell Shifflett (So., Midlothian, Va.) RBI groundout.
The Cavaliers moved ahead with a three-run third inning. Taylor drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a balk. After Cogswell walked, Bruno laid down a bunt and reached on a fielding error. King lined a single to center to score a run, and Derek Fisher (Fr., Rexmont, Pa.) then reached on a fielder’s choice, with Cogswell scoring. Mike Papi (Fr. Tunkhannock, Pa.) grounded out to score Bruno.
Virginia broke the game open with a nine-run fourth inning. The first 10 batters reached base safely, and 13 Cavaliers batted in the frame. Facing reliever Eric Lara, Shifflett led off with a single and Keith Werman (Sr., Vienna, Va.) walked. Both scored when Taylor doubled off the center-field wall. After a Cogswell walk, Bruno doubled to left to score a run, and King followed with a two-run triple. Fisher singled King home to push the lead to 11-4.
Justin Albright replaced Lara and gave up a single to Papi and a walk to Brandon Downes (Fr., South Plainfield, N.J.) to load the bases. Shifflett grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Fisher, and Werman and Taylor hit back-to-back sacrifice flies to give UVa a 14-4 lead.
The Cavaliers added a pair of runs in the seventh inning. Cogswell was hit by the first pitch of the inning, and Howard tripled on the next pitch to score a run. Kenny Towns (Fr., Burke, Va.) then singled to right-center to bring Howard home.
Virginia continues its nine-game homestand this weekend when North Carolina comes to town in a matchup of the ACC’s two programs which reached the 2011 College World Series. The Tar Heels currently are ranked as high as eighth nationally and are tied with UVa at 9-6 in the Coastal Division standings. The teams are slated to play at 6 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.