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May 24, 2014

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GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Virginia baseball team pulled out a 3-2 win over North Carolina Friday evening in front of 5,783 fans at the 2014 ACC Baseball Championship at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Now 1-1 in the tournament, the third-seeded Cavaliers (44-12) conclude their stay at 7 p.m. Saturday when they take on second-seeded Florida State. UVa was eliminated from contention for the championship game earlier in the day because of Maryland’s win over FSU, but the Cavaliers knocked the seventh-seeded Tar Heels (33-25) from championship contention with the win Friday night.

Virginia’s Whit Mayberry (R-Sr., Alexandria, Va.) earned the win and improved to 6-1 on the year with 2 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. Nick Howard (Jr., Olney, Md.) worked the final 1 1/3 innings, leaving runners on second base in the eighth and ninth innings, to earn his 18th save. That ties the school record, set by Kevin Arico (2010) and Branden Kline (2011). He is one shy the ACC record, set by UNC’s Michael Morin in 2012.

Neither starting pitcher earned a decision despite neither allowing an earned run. Virginia starter Brandon Waddell (So., Houston, Texas) grinded through five innings, giving up six hits and two walks while striking out seven. North Carolina starter Benton Moss worked 6 2/3 innings, allowing two unearned runs, four hits and no walks while striking out eight. UNC reliever Zach Rice (2-3) took the loss after allowing an earned run in the eighth inning.

Branden Cogswell (Jr., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) recorded three of Virginia’s six hits. Both teams had plenty of scoring chances, but UVa left 10 runners on base while UNC stranded 11, including eight in scoring position. The Tar Heels had runners on base in every inning, but UVa pitchers buckled down in recording the team’s 14th one-run win this season.

Virginia scored the game’s first run in the fourth inning. Cogswell led off with a single and moved to second on a groundout. A Moss balk allowed Cogswell to advance to third. Howard hit a chopper to first and Cogwell was caught in a rundown, but he stayed in the rundown long enough for Howard to advance to second. That proved key when Derek Fisher (Jr., Rexmont, Pa.) grounded to shortstop Landon Lassiter, who threw the ball away, allowing Howard to come around to score.

North Carolina left a pair of runners on base in the second, third and fourth innings, and the Tar Heels had runners on first and second with one out in the fifth before Waddell escaped with a double-play ball off the bat of Skye Bolt.

UVa tacked on a run in the seventh inning. John La Prise (So., Exton, Pa.) hit a leadoff single and Daniel Pinero (Fr., Toronto, Ontario) reached on a fielding error. Brnadon Downes (Jr., South Plainfield, N.J.) bunted the runners over. Nate Irving (Jr., Yonkers, N.Y.) then laid down a safety squeeze bunt, with La Prise sliding in just before the tag of catcher Korey Dunbar.

UNC wasted no time in tying the game in its half of the seventh off Mayberry. Following a throwing error by Cogswell to start the inning, Wood Myers launched a two-run homer to right field, his first career home run.

Virginia responded in the next half inning. Joe McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.) was hit by a pitch to start the inning. One out later, McCarthy stole second. Fisher then hit a sharp grounder up the middle which bounced off the glove second baseman Myers and caromed back toward left-center field for a single, allowing McCarthy to score easily.

The Tar Heels put the potential tying run on base in the eighth inning against Howard following a walk and wild pitch, but he struck out Zach Daly to end the frame. In the ninth inning he gave up a leadoff single to Myers – his fourth hit of the day. Myers moved to second on a sacrifice, but Howard struck out Lassiter looking and got Bolt to fly out to right-center field to end the game.

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