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March 16, 2013

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CLEMSON, S.C. – The No. 12 Virginia baseball team fell 7-6 at Clemson Saturday evening at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson, S.C. Garrett Boulware hit a walk-off single with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning to propel the Tigers to the win and even the series.

For the second straight game, Virginia (16-2, 3-2 ACC) rallied late in the game. UVa trailed 6-3 in the fifth inning before tying the game in the eighth. Clemson (11-6, 3-2) snapped its nine-game losing streak to the Cavaliers which dated to the 2010 season.

Branden Cogswell (So., Ballston Lake, N.Y.), Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.) and Jared King (R-Sr., Radford, Va.) each had a pair of hits for the Cavaliers. Boulware went 3-for-5 with four RBI to highlight the Tigers’ evening.

Virginia freshman reliever Nathan Kirby (Midlothian, Va.) took the loss and fell to 1-1 after getting credit for the ninth-inning run. UVa’s bullpen again was outstanding, allowing just a run and four hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Clemson reliever Zack Erwin (1-0) was brilliant in pitching five innings of one-run, one-hit relief to earn the win. He walked one and struck out three.

Neither starting pitcher made it through the fifth inning. Virginia starting pitcher Scott Silverstein went 3 1/3 innings, allowing six runs (five earned), seven hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Clemson starter Clate Schmidt worked four innings and pitched to two batters in the fifth. He gave up five earned runs, eight hits and three walks while striking out one.

Virginia got off to a quick start with a pair of first-inning runs. King singled with one out and scored an out later when Downes doubled to left. After Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) walked, Mike Papi (So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) lined a 3-2 pitch to left to plate Downes.

Clemson pounced on Silverstein early with three runs in its half of the first. With one out the Tigers strung together four consecutive hits, capped by a two-run triple from Boulware and an RBI single by Shane Kennedy.

The Tigers added an unearned run in the second inning. Thomas Brittle led off and laid down a bunt which third baseman Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) threw away for a three-base error. Tyler Slaton followed with a sacrifice fly.

Virginia cut a run from the lead in the third without a hit as King was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Derek Fisher (So., Rexmont, Pa.) walked. After a sacrifice bunt by Downes, McCarthy grounded to first to bring in the run.

Clemson again answered in the bottom of the inning with a run, although Silverstein was able to avert further damage. Boulware led off with a home run into the seats in left field. Kennedy then tripled to right-center. Silverstein buckled down to strike out Jay McGibbon swinging and got Tyler Krieger to ground to first, with King throwing Kennedy out at home. Krieger then was thrown out easily on a stolen base attempt to end the inning.

CU knocked Silverstein from the game in the fourth. Brittle led off with a single and advanced on a wild pitch, followed by a sacrifice. Whit Mayberry (R-Jr., Alexandria, Va.) entered the game in relief and walked Jay Baum before Steven Duggar lined a single to center to score the run.

UVa then bounced Schmidt from the contest in the fifth when Downes led off with a single on an 0-2 pitch and McCarthy bounced an RBI triple down the right-field line. Zack Erwin entered the game and gave up a sacrifice fly to Papi to deep center.

The bullpens of each team dominated until the eighth inning when the Cavaliers got to Erwin, who had thrown three hitless innings to that point. Howard doubled to right on the first pitch of the inning and moved to third when Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) reached on a fielding error. Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.) then grounded into a double play to bring Howard home with the tying run.

UVa relievers retired 11 straight batters until Brittle led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to center. Slaton bunted him to second. After Baum was intentionally walked, Kirby struck out Duggar looking. Steve Wilkerson singled deep in the hole at shortstop, with Cogswell knocking the ball down to keep the run from scoring. Josh Sborz (Fr., McLean, Va.) entered the game and went 2-0 to Boulware, who then lashed a single into the right-center gap for the walk-off hit.

The teams play the rubber game of the series at 1 p.m. Sunday. The game will be broadcast by ESPN3.

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