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March 27, 2013

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The fifth-ranked Virginia baseball team scored five runs in the third inning and never looked back in coasting to a 7-1 victory over Towson Tuesday at Davenport Field. Virginia (23-2) earned its seventh straight victory and improved to 19-1 at home this season.

Five Virginia pitchers combined to scatter eight hits and strike out a dozen batters. Reliever Nathan Kirby (Fr., Midlothian, Va.) earned the win and improved to 2-1 with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. UVa starter Trey Oest worked 4 2/3 innings, giving up an earned run, five hits and one walk while striking out four. The Cavaliers’ bullpen again was solid, giving up just three hits and no walks while fanning eight.

Towson starter Nik Nowottnick (2-1) pitched to the first five batters in the third inning before being replaced. In two innings he allowed five runs (two earned), four hits and five walks. Brendan Butler had a pair of hits for Towson (13-10).

Virginia finished with nine hits, with the heart of the Cavaliers’ batting order doing much of the damage. Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.), Derek Fisher (So., Rexmont, Pa.) and Mike Papi (So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) each recorded two hits. Downes scored twice, while Fisher and Papi also knocked in a pair of runs apiece.

The first five Virginia batters reached base in the third inning, and each came around to score. Jared King (R-Sr., Radford, Va.) reached to lead off the inning when left fielder Peter Bowles dropped his fly ball just in front of the left-field wall for a two-base error. Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) reached on a walk, with King advancing to third on a wild pitch on ball four. Downes, Fisher and Papi then hit consecutive RBI singles to give UVa a 3-0 edge. Reliever Garrett Walther entered the game and recorded a strikeout before Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) laid down a safety squeeze to plate Fisher. Branden Cogswell (So., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) hit a two-out single to score Papi.

Towson scored its lone run in the fifth inning against Oest, as Pat Fitzgerald drew a one-out walk, stole second and came home on a Hunter Bennett single.

The Cavaliers tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the sixth inning against reliever Kevin Ross. The damage all came after two were out, as Downes walked and Fisher and Papi followed with back-to-back RBI doubles.

Virginia returns to ACC action this weekend when it entertains Miami in a three-game series. The Cavaliers and Hurricanes will play at 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday contest will be televised by the ACC’s Regional Sports Networks.

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