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Feb. 19, 2013

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) fired six shutout innings in leading the No. 25 Virginia baseball team to an 11-2 win over William and Mary Tuesday afternoon at Davenport Field. Virginia (4-0) continued its prolific attack at the plate in the early stage of the season, racking up 13 hits in support of Howard.

The bottom third of the Cavaliers’ order did much of the damage, as Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.), Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) and Colin Harrington (R-Jr., Johnstown, Pa.) combined to go 8-for-10 with six RBI. Kenny Towns (So., Burke, Va.) added a 2-run home run for UVa.

Virginia has scored 47 runs in its first four games, an average of just under 12 runs per game.

Howard (1-0) worked a career-long six innings in his first career start, giving up just five hits. He struck out a pair and did not walk a batter while tossing an efficient 60 pitches. Nathan Kirby (Fr., Midlothian, Va.) pitched two shutout innings of relief before Josh Sborz (Fr., McLean, Va.) wrapped things up in the ninth.

William and Mary starter Matt Wainman (0-1) allowed six earned runs, six hits and four walks in five innings. He struck out three in the defeat. Ryan Williams had two hits and an RBI for the Tribe (1-3).

After three scoreless innings, Virginia broke the early deadlock with a three-run fourth inning, with all the damage coming after two were out. Back-to-back walks to Towns and Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) started the rally before Irving scalded a ball into left field for a run-scoring double. Gragnani followed with a two-run double to right to give UVa a 3-0 edge.

The lead doubled in the fifth inning. With two outs and Branden Cogswell (So., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) on second base, Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.) launched a double deep to center field. Towns cranked Wainman’s next pitch into the left-field bleachers for his third home run in four games this year. He now has 10 RBI this year, nearly matching his total of 12 RBI from the 2012 season.

Virginia tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning against reliever JT Castner on a two-run home run to left field by Harrington, his first long ball of the year and the second of his career.

Gragnani hit an RBI single in the seventh to score Downes and push the lead to 9-0, and John LaPrise (Fr., Exton, Pa.) and Downes hit back-to-back RBI singles in the eighth.

The Tribe broke up the Cavaliers’ shutout bid in the ninth inning on an RBI double by Williams and a run-scoring groundout by Thomas Pulisic.

Virginia plays host to Toledo this weekend for a three-game series in the first-ever meetings between the two programs. The Cavaliers and Rockets face off at 3 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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