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May 12, 2013

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The seventh-ranked Virginia baseball team completed a three-game series sweep of Duke with a 14-6 victory Sunday afternoon in front of a Mothers’ Day crowd of 4,646 at Davenport Field. Virginia (42-8, 20-7 ACC) finished off its fourth ACC series sweep of the year and has won seven of its nine conference series, including all five at home, where UVa is 32-3 overall this season.

UVa’s offense had another banner day, as the Cavaliers amassed 15 hits. UVa scored 37 runs and racked up 47 hits in the series. Virginia also had great crowds throughout the weekend and drew 12,355 fans for the three-game set.

The Cavaliers held Senior Day ceremonies prior to the game, honoring fifth-year seniors Jared King (Radford, Va.) and Scott Silverstein (Olney, Md.), fourth-years Rob Amaro (Bensalem, Pa.), Reed Gragnani (Richmond, Va.), Colin Harrington (Johnstown, Pa.) and Whit Mayberry (Alexandria, Va.) and student manager Taylor Myers (Powhatan, Va.).

Gragnani and Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) each went 4-for-5 for the Cavaliers on Sunday. Both had big series against Duke, as Gragnani was 9-for-14 in the three contests, while McCarthy was 8-for-14. Mike Papi (So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) went 2-for-4 with four RBI and finished the series 6-for-11 with eight RBI in the leadoff spot.

Kyle Crockett (Jr., Poquoson, Va.) worked a season-long 4 1/3 innings to claim the win and improve to 4-0. He allowed two runs, five hits and one walk while striking out four. UVa starter Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) pitched 3 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) and eight hits while fanning three.

Duke starter Robert Huber (5-6) took the loss after allowing five earned runs and five hits over 1 1/3 innings. Duke (25-26, 9-18) used seven pitchers in the contest, and finished with 15 hits offensively.

Duke bolted out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Jordan Betts and Chris Marconcini hit back-to-back singles to start the inning. After an Aaron Cohn sacrifice, Grant McCabe lined a single to center to score Betts. Kenny Koplove then hit a sacrifice fly to center, and Reed Anthes followed with a single to center to push the lead to 3-0.

UVa responded with five runs in its half of the second. The Cavaliers loaded the bases with none out as Derek Fisher (So., Rexmont, Pa.) drew a leadoff walk, Gragnani singled and Kenny Towns (So., Burke, Va.) walked. Second baseman Andy Perez made a sensational leaping grab on a John LaPrise (Fr., Exton, Pa.) liner for the first out, but Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.) followed with a run-scoring single to right. Papi then cranked a bases-clearing triple off the base of the wall in right-center to give UVa a 4-3 edge. King followed with a double to right-center, scoring Papi and spelling the end of the day for Huber.

Duke shaved a run from the lead in the fourth, getting consecutive one-out singles from Koplove and Anthes, and both runners advanced a base on a Papi fielding error on Anthes’ hit. That proved key when Perez hit a sacrifice fly to center. Crockett entered the game with two outs and struck out Mark Lumpa to leave Anthes stranded at third.

Virginia again countered with a pair of runs in its half of the inning. King walked with two out. McCarthy followed with a double to left-center to bring in King, and Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.) then singled to left, with McCarthy acrobatically scoring as he jumped over the attempted tag of Anthes at the plate.

Duke cut the lead to 7-6 against Crockett in the fifth inning. Leadoff hitter Jeff Kremer was hit by a pitch and moved to second when Betts singled. Marconcini walked to load the bases; it marked Crockett’s first unintentional walk in 39 innings this season. Aaron Cohn grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, with Kremer scoring, and McCabe followed with a single up the middle to bring Betts around to score.

Virginia opened up some breathing room with five runs in the seventh to take a 12-6 lead. Facing reliever Sarkis Ohanian, Fisher led off with a home run just to the left of the Blue Monster in center field, as he tied Downes for the team lead with seven homers this year. Gragnani doubled to right and moved to third on a Towns fly ball. LaPrise walked, and after Andrew Istler took the mound, Irving ripped a double to left-center to score a pair of runs and up the UVa lead to 10-6. Irving scored after a pair of Istler wild pitches, and McCarthy later added an RBI single.

UVa scored twice more in the eighth inning, getting sacrifice flies from LaPrise and Papi.

Virginia plays host to VCU at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the regular-season home finale at Davenport Field. The Cavaliers then travel to top-ranked North Carolina Thursday through Saturday to complete the ACC schedule; UVa trails UNC by one game in the Coastal Division standings heading into the final weekend of the regular season.

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