Feb. 14, 2015

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GREENVILLE, N.C. – The second-ranked Virginia baseball team finished off a series sweep of East Carolina after taking both ends of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Clark-LeClair Stadium in Greenville, N.C. The Cavaliers (3-0) rolled to a 9-2 win in Game 1 before scoring a pair of eighth-inning runs to break a 2-2 tie and win the nightcap, 4-2.

Matt Thaiss (So., Jackson, N.J.) homered in both games of the doubleheader, going 4-for-8 with four RBI. The Cavaliers’ pitching staff limited ECU (0-3) to five runs and 17 hits in the series. Virginia now has won nine straight games in its series against the Pirates, dating to a Feb. 27, 2011, defeat in Charlottesville.

Game 1
The Cavaliers captured a 9-2 win in Game 1, taking advantage of five East Carolina errors which led to six unearned runs. Connor Jones (So., Chesapeake, Va.) was terrific in his first weekend start, going a career-best six innings and limiting East Carolina to an unearned run, three hits and a walk while striking out eight in earning the win. Kevin Doherty (Jr., Laytonsville, Md.) worked two perfect innings of relief before freshman Derek Casey (Mechanicsville, Va.) finished things off by pitching the ninth.

The bottom third of the batting order drove in five runs and scored four times. In his first college start, Charlie Cody (Fr., Chesapeake, Va.) went 3-for-3 and scored twice. Thaiss went 2-for-4 with a home run, double and two RBI, while Justin Novak (Fr., Tokyo, Japan) added a pair of RBI.

East Carolina starting pitcher Jacob Wolfe (0-1) was tagged with the loss after allowing eight runs (two earned), seven hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings.

ECU scored an unearned run in the first inning as Luke Lowery hit a two-out single to plate Hunter Allen, who reached on an error to start the inning.

UVa sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five runs in the second inning despite only picking up one hit. The Cavaliers took advantage of three ECU errors, leading to four unearned runs.

The Cavaliers added a run in the fourth inning on a Kenny Towns (Sr., Burke, Va.) sacrifice fly to score Adam Haseley (Fr., Windermere, Fla.), who reached on a fielding error by Wolfe to open the inning. UVa tacked on two runs in the fifth inning while forcing Wolfe from the game. Thaiss led off with a double and after catcher Travis Watkins bobbled a Cody sacrifice bunt attempt for an error, Novak followed with a safety squeeze to bring Thaiss home. With two outs, Haseley singled to center to score Cody.

Virginia pushed the lead to 9-1 in the ninth inning when Thaiss hit his first college home run, a shot over the right-field wall. ECU scored with two outs in the ninth inning on a Watkins RBI single.

Game 2
Virginia broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning as it finished off the doubleheader and series sweeps.

In his first college outing, Virginia reliever Jack Roberts (So., Richmond, Va.) pitched four scoreless innings of relief to earn the win. Getting the Cavaliers out of a bases-loaded jam with just one run scoring in the fifth, Roberts (1-0) gave up a walk and two hits in his four innings while retiring the final eight batters he faced. Josh Sborz (Jr., McLean, Va.) pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his second save in as many days. Reliever Jimmy Boyd (0-1) took the loss after giving up a pair of runs and five hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Virginia starting pitcher Brandon Waddell (Jr., Houston, Texas) did not have his trademark control and went four-plus innings, allowing two earned runs, seven hits and two walks while striking out six. ECU starter David Lucroy worked 5 1/3 innings, giving up two earned runs, four hits and two walks while fanning a pair.

Ernie Clement (Fr., Rochester, N.Y.) went 3-for-5 to pace the UVa offense, while Thaiss was 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI. Pavin Smith (Fr., Jupiter, Fla.) added a pair of hits for the Cavaliers.

Virginia struck quickly with a run in the first inning. After back-to-back singles to start the game from Clement and Haseley, Daniel Pinero (So., Toronto, Ontario) bunted the runners over and Towns grounded out to score Clement.

UVa added a run in the second when Thaiss lined a home run to right-center to lead off the inning.

ECU responded in the bottom of the second when Garrett Brooks hit a two-out single to bring home Jeff Nelson. After forcing Waddell from the game in the fifth inning, the Pirates loaded the bases against Roberts and tied the game when Kirk Morgan grounded out to score Parker Lamm.

Virginia broke the deadlock with a pair of runs in the eighth inning. With one out Towns singled and Smith then hustled out a double to left-center. Coman grounded out to second base to bring Towns home, and Thaiss followed with an opposite-field single to left to score Smith and give UVa a 4-2 lead.

Roberts and Sborz combined to retire the final 11 ECU batters to seal the victory as well as the series sweep.

Virginia returns home Tuesday (Feb. 17) to open its home schedule, facing VCU at 3 p.m. at Davenport Field. It marks the start of a 14-game homestand for the Cavaliers.