CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 25 Virginia baseball team defeated Richmond, 7-5, Tuesday night at Davenport Field. UVa scored a pair of runs in the seventh inning to break a 5-5 tie en route to the win.
Stephen Bruno (Jr., Audubon, N.J.) continued his hot hitting with a 3-for-5 night as he extended his hitting streak to 10 games. One of five freshmen in the starting lineup, Nate Irving (Fr., Yonkers, N.Y.) knocked in three runs for Virginia (24-13-1). Mike Papi (Fr., Tunkhannock, Pa.) homered and scored twice for UVa.
Shane Halley (Sr., Burke, Va.) worked 1.1 innings of scoreless relief to earn the win for UVa and improve to 5-1 this year. Justin Thompson (Sr., Danville, Va.) held the Spiders scoreless in the ninth inning to notch his seventh save.
Richmond reliever Andrew Brockett (0-6) worked 3.2 innings, allowing two runs (one earned), three hits and two walks while striking out a pair in taking the loss. Chris Cowell hit a three-run homer for Richmond (18-16), while Phil Ruzbarsky recorded three hits. Richmond’s defense committed four errors, which led to five unearned runs for Virginia.
UR got off to a great start with a three-run first inning. After UVa starting pitcher Joel Effertz (Jr., Ladysmith, Wis.) issued back-to-back walks, he was lifted in favor of Austin Young (So., Mechanicsville, Va.). Chris Cowell then launched a three-run home run just inside the foul pole for his 14th blast of the season.
UVa countered with four runs in its half of the first against UR starter Andrew Blum. With one out Branden Cogswell (Fr., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) reached on an error. Bruno singled and Derek Fisher (Fr., Rexmont, Pa.) walked to load the bases. Jared King (Jr., Radford, Va.) hit a sacrifice fly to center to score a run and move Bruno to third. Papi walked to again load the bases, and Brandon Downes (Fr., South Plainfield, N.J.) followed with a walk to force in a run. Irving then doubled to right-center to plate a pair of runs and push UVa ahead, 4-3.
The Spiders tied the game in the third on Ruzbarsky’s two-out RBI single, but UVa moved right back ahead in its half of the third when Papi homered off the right-field foul pole for his first college home run.
Richmond again knotted the score in the sixth inning. Ruzbarsky hit a one-out single, and Adam Forrer singled with two outs before Joey Vecchione battled back from an 0-2 hole to hit a 3-2 Nick Howard (Fr., Olney, Md.) offering into left field for a single to plate the run.
The Cavaliers moved ahead in the seventh inning. Bruno ripped the first pitch of the inning to left for a single. He stole second base and advanced to third with one out on a wild pitch. King walked, and pinch hitter Colin Harrington (Jr., Johnstown, Pa.) laid down a bunt in front of the plate toward Brockett, but the ball rolled under Brockett’s glove and all hands were safe, with Bruno scoring. After Downes walked, Irving laid down a great bunt down the first-base line to easily bring King home.
Virginia travels to Duke this weekend for a three-game ACC series at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. The teams are slated to play at 6 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.