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Feb. 23, 2014

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 1-ranked Virginia baseball team finished off a series sweep of East Carolina with a 6-2 victory Sunday afternoon in front of 3,592 fans at Davenport Field. In winning its sixth-consecutive game, Virginia (6-1) once again used timely hitting and strong pitching and defense to pick up the victory, as the Cavaliers surrendered just four runs in the weekend series.

“East Carolina year in and year out has a very good ball club and I think it speaks to the level of play that we played with this weekend in the fact that we were able to sweep all three ballgames,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “The thing that I was impressed with our club the most was the defensive intensity that we played with was pretty special and the fact that we didn’t have an error all weekend. If you throw strikes like we did on the mound and you handle the ball defensively like we did, you’re going to have a chance to win every ballgame you’re in.”

Virginia drew 10,245 fans for the three-game series. The Sunday crowd as well as the weekend attendance total each were program records for home games in February. ECU was swept in a non-conference road series for the first time since Feb. 16-18, 2007, at UCLA.

Virginia starting pitcher Brandon Waddell (So., Houston, Texas) went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs, five hits and a walk while striking out a pair in earning the win to improve to 1-1. UVa’s bullpen again was solid, as Whit Mayberry (R-Sr., Alexandria, Va.), Kevin Doherty (So., Laytonsville, Md.) and Nick Howard (Jr., Olney, Md.) shut the ECU offense down on just a hit and a walk over the final 3 1/3 innings. UVa’s bullpen has not allowed a run in the last 16 innings, dating to last Sunday.

East Carolina starter David Lucroy (0-2) was bounced from the game after just 2 2/3 innings as he took the loss. Lucroy allowed four earned runs, seven hits and a walk while striking out one. Ryan Williams allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings to finish the game for ECU.

Virginia’s runs were scored on six two-out hits; the Cavaliers were 7-for-14 with runners on base and two outs. Freshman Matt Thaiss (Jackson, N.J.) went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI to highlight the Cavaliers’ 13-hit day. Six Cavaliers recorded an RBI, while the top eight in the batting order all had at least one hit.

After squandering a two-on, none-out opportunity in the second inning, Virginia broke through against Lucroy in a four-run third inning. With two outs, McCarthy walked, stole second and moved to third on a balk. He scored on a Brandon Downes (Jr., South Plainfield, N.J.) single to left-center. Downes stole second and scored on a Fisher single to center. Thaiss brought Fisher around with a ringing double to left-center, prompting ECU to make a pitching change. Nate Irving (Jr., Yonkers, N.Y.) greeted reliever Ryan Williams by singling on the first pitch, scoring Thaiss and giving UVa a 4-0 advantage.

ECU (3-4) broke a streak of 18 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings against UVa pitching in the fourth inning on an RBI double from Luke Lowery followed by a run-scoring single from Dylan Brown.

UVa countered with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, Mike Papi (Jr., Tunkhannock, Pa.) singled with one out, moved to second on a groundout and scored on a bloop single to right from McCarthy. In the fifth, John La Prise (So., Exton, Pa.) cranked a two-out single the other way to left field to bring Thaiss home from second base.

Virginia continues its nine-game homestand at 3 p.m. Tuesday when it faces VMI at Davenport Field.

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