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April 24, 2013

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.– The No. 5 Virginia baseball team used three big innings to score a season-high 16 runs in a 16-8 triumph over James Madison Wednesday night at Davenport Field. Virginia (37-6) scored five times in the first and eighth innings and four in the fourth as it posted its sixth straight victory.

Every Virginia starter recorded at least one hit, while six posted at least two as UVa matched its season high with 16 hits. Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.) had a monster night, going 3-for-4 with a home run, triple, four runs and three RBI. Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) drove in four runs as part of a 2-for-3 day, while Mike Papi(So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) went 2-for-3 with three runs and two RBI.

Virginia reliever Austin Young (Jr., Mechanicsville, Va.) claimed the win and improved to 5-0 after allowing an unearned run, two hits and a walk over 2 1/3 innings. Kyle Crockett (Jr., Poquoson, Va.) tossed two scoreless innings to earn his 10th save of the year. UVa starter Trey Oest(Fr., Dover, Fla.) worked 2 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs, five hits and two walks while striking out a pair.

Luke Drayer (2-3) took the loss for James Madison (18-22) after giving up four earned runs, three hits and a walk over 3 1/3 innings of relief. Starter Michael Church was bounced in the first inning after giving up five runs (four earned) and six hits while recording just two outs.

Virginia jumped out to an early 5-0 lead by sending 10 batters to the plate in the first inning while knocking Church from the game. Branden Cogswell (So., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) doubled to left-center on the first pitch and moved to third on a King single. Papi singled to right to score a run, and Downes walked to load the bases. One out later, Nick Howard(So., Olney, Md.) hit a deep fly to left which was dropped by Chad Carroll for an error, allowing all three runners to score. Gragnani followed with a single to right to plate Howard.

JMU scored two runs in the second inning on back-to-back RBI doubles from Tyler Duke and Bobby San Martin and moved ahead with four runs in the third inning, capped by a long three-run homer to left-center by Conner Brown off reliever Nathan Kirby(Fr., Midlothian, Va.).

UVa struggled for two innings against Drayer, but went to work in its second trip through the order against him in the fourth inning. With one out Cogswell walked, and he scored after back-to-back singles by King and Papi. Downes then tripled off the right-field wall, scoring both runners to give UVa an 8-6 lead. Derek Fisher(So., Rexmont, Pa.) then grounded out to second to bring in Downes.

JMU cut the lead to 9-7 in the fifth inning. Chad Carroll and Colby Roberts hit consecutive singles to start the inning. Ty McFarland reached on a fielder’s choice, with Carroll advancing to third. Young then entered in relief and picked up a flyout to left from Brown, with Carroll scoring on the sacrifice fly.

Virginia pushed its lead to 11-7 in the sixth. King and Papi drew walks and Downes laid down a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Fisher grounded weakly in front of the plate, and pitcher J.T. Root flipped home for the force for the first out. Howard then hit a slow roller down the first-baseline and avoided the swipe tag of Root for a single, scoring Papi. Gragnani followed with a sac fly to center to plate Downes.

JMU scored an unearned run in the seventh inning. Roberts drew a leadoff walk and moved to third on a two-out single by Bradley Shaban. Roberts scored on a fielding error by Howard off a sharp grounder by Duke.

The Cavaliers blew the game open with a five-run eighth inning against JMU reliever Trent Cundiff. Downes started the rally with a long home run to left-center field, his team-leading seventh blast of the year. The home run marked the first of five consecutive hits for the Cavaliers. Fisher then singled and Howard followed with a double. Gragnani ripped a single to center to plate both runners and push the lead to lead to 14-8. Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.) cranked a single to right and pinch hitter Kenny Towns(So., Burke, Va.) reached on an error to load the bases. Cundiff uncorked a wild pitch to score Gragnani, and Cogswell grounded out to bring home Irving with the Cavaliers’ 16th run.

Virginia heads to Blacksburg this weekend for a three-game ACC series with Virginia Tech. The teams will play at 5:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

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