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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Virginia baseball team went on a once-in-a-lifetime journey on Dec. 17 for a week-long foreign tour in Central America. During the Cavaliers’ trip to Panama and Costa Rica, the team had time for competition, practice and team building. For many on the team, it was their first time outside the United States.

With a roster featuring 14 first-year student-athletes – nearly half of the team’s roster – the foreign tour enabled the young squad to gel through extra practice time, an exhibition game in Panama City and team-building events.

During its travels through Panama, the Cavaliers had the opportunity to tour the Miraflores Locks at the Panama Canal, canoe down the Tigris River and visit the indigenous Embera Village, where the team toured and learned about the village’s customs. While in Costa Rica, the team toured the Doka Coffee Plantation, zip-lined through the rainforest, hiked through the Arenal Volcano National Park and went white-water rafting on the Savegre River.

Virginia defeated Panama Metro, 9-1, on Dec. 18 at 27,000-seat Rod Carew Stadium, which hosted games during the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Cavalier freshman pitchers Riley Cummins (Vienna, Va.), Mark Ostbye (Haddonfield, N.J.) and Matt Doughty (Roanoke, Va.) combined to limit their opponents to just three hits in the seven-inning contest, while UVa played error-free baseball in rolling to the victory.

Cummins started and earned the win with three shutout innings, while Doughty fired the final 3 1/3 innings and allowed just three baserunners in claiming a save.

Daniel Pinero (So., Toronto, Ontario) went 4-for-5 with a triple, two runs and an RBI to highlight the Cavaliers’ 14-hit evening. Robbie Coman (Jr., Lake Worth, Fla.) Adam Haseley (Fr., Windermere, Fla.) and Joe McCarthy (Jr., Scranton, Pa.) each had a pair of hits, while Thomas Woodruff (Sr., Clifton, Va.) reached base safely in four of his five plate appearances.

UVa scored three times in the first inning as the first six Cavaliers reached base safely in the game. Haseley singled to center on the first pitch of the game and scored on a Pinero triple to left-center. McCarthy followed with an RBI single to left-center, and after the Cavaliers loaded the bases, Woodruff was hit by a pitch to force in a run.

The Cavaliers pushed their lead to 5-0 in the third, taking advantage of a two-out error to score a run on a misplayed grounder from Justin Novak (Fr., Tokyo, Japan). Haseley then singled to bring home Kevin Doherty (Jr., Laytonsville, Md.).

The lead ballooned to 7-0 in the fourth inning. UVa loaded the bases with one out, with Doherty then battling back from an 0-2 count to coax a walk to force in a run. Ernie Clement (Fr., Rochester, N.Y.) grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Coman scoring on the play for the Cavaliers’ seventh run.

Panama Metro scored its lone run in the fourth, but UVa countered in the top of the fifth with a run of its own on a two-out RBI triple from Coman, scoring Pinero. The Cavaliers added a final tally in the sixth on a run-scoring single from Novak to bring in Woodruff.

The trip caps the fall season for the Cavaliers and serves as a springboard into 2015. UVa’s season-opening series is Feb. 13-15 at East Carolina, while the home opener is Feb. 17 against VCU. Virginia is ranked third in the preseason Collegiate Baseball poll.

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