CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Freshman left-hander Brandon Waddell (Houston, Texas) struck out 15 batters over six dominant innings and the offense piled up 15 hits as the 25th-ranked Virginia baseball team exploded for a 15-0 victory over Toledo Friday on a brisk afternoon at Davenport Field.
In his second college start, Waddell (1-0) allowed just six hits and a walk while finishing with 15 strikeouts. It was the most strikeouts by a Virginia pitcher since Danny Hultzen racked up 15 against East Carolina on Feb. 25, 2011, and the most by a Cavalier rookie since Seth Greisinger recorded 16 in 1994 against North Carolina.
“Brandon Waddell was outstanding,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “He was in complete command of all of his pitches. I’m really proud of him and the way he came out and threw the baseball. From an offensive standpoint, it was great to see us play such good team baseball. When you play the game the right way from a team offensive standpoint, the game will reward you.”
Virginia pitchers combined to strike out 18 batters, the most by the Cavalier pitching staff since UVa racked up 18 strikeouts in a 13-inning College World Series game against South Carolina on June 24, 2011. Nathaniel Abel (So., Haymarket, Va.) and Kevin Doherty (Fr., Laytonsville, Md.) combined to toss the final two innings to finish off UVa’s first shutout of 2013.
The Cavaliers (5-0) continued their sizzling play at the plate, scoring in each of the first six innings to jump to a 15-0 lead through six. Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) recorded his first career four-hit game, going 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles and three RBI. Branden Cogswell (So., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) added three hits and scored three times.
Toledo starting pitcher Ryan Wilkinson (0-1) took the loss for the Rockets (1-2) after allowing seven runs (four earned), seven hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings.
The Cavaliers tacked on a pair of runs in the third on a Kenny Towns (So., Burke, Va.) sacrifice fly and a Howard RBI double.
Virginia blew the game open by sending a dozen batters to the plate against three pitchers in a seven-run fourth inning. UVa put its first two runners on after Irving walked and Cogswell bunted his way on, with both runners advancing a base on catcher James Miglin’s throwing error. Jared King (R-Sr., Radford, Va.) hit a sacrifice fly to score a run, and Fisher then reached on a fielding error, with Cogswell scoring on the play. Alec Schmenk replaced Wilkinson on the mound, but he allowed the next six batters to reach base. Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.) launched a triple to center field to score Fisher, and Towns followed with a rocket to left-center for an RBI double. Following an intentional walk to Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.), Howard singled in Towns. Irving then singled in a pair to finish off the seven-run onslaught.
Virginia tacked on three runs in the fifth inning on an RBI single from Howard and a two-run triple from Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) and added a final run in the sixth on an RBI grounder by Towns.
The Cavaliers and Rockets will play Game 2 of the series at 1 p.m. Saturday, while the series finale is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday. Parking for the Saturday contest will be available in the University Hall and John Paul Jones Arena lots. Baseball parking Sunday will be available only in the Emmet/Ivy Garage; parking in the University Hall, John Paul Jones Arena and McCue lots will be limited to fans attending the men’s basketball game.