March 28, 2015
March 28, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The No. 14 Virginia baseball team swept a doubleheader Saturday afternoon in frigid conditions at Frank Eck Stadium in Notre Dame, Ind. The Cavaliers (17-8, 5-6 ACC) rolled to a 9-1 win in the first game and scored two run in the ninth inning in the nightcap to break a 2-2 deadlock and win 4-2.
The Cavaliers got quality pitching and defense as well as some timely hitting in winning both games in their first trip to Notre Dame in program history. Adam Haseley (Fr., Windermere, Fla.) finished with four hits in the doubleheader, while Christian Lowry (Fr., Chesapeake, Va.) hit the go-ahead single in the second game.
“It was a huge day and a big step forward for us,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We got two outstanding starting pitching performances and I thought we swung the bats really aggressively. We played good defense, and it’s something that we certainly needed.”
Virginia goes for the series sweep at 12:05 p.m. Sunday. The game time was moved up one hour because of incoming inclement weather.
Virginia racked up 13 hits in the first game while starting pitcher Nathan Kirby (Jr., Midlothian, Va.) worked six shutout innings. Daniel Pinero (So., Toronto, Ontario) went 3-for-3, scored four runs and reached base in each of his five plate appearances. Matt Thaiss (So., Jackson, N.J.) and Kenny Towns (Sr., Burke, Va.) each drove in three runs.
In earning the win, Kirby (4-1) allowed five hits and two walks while striking out eight in his six scoreless innings of work as he lowered his season ERA to 1.01. Kevin Doherty (Jr., Laytonsville, Md.) worked the final three innings to claim his second save. He also started in right field and picked up a pair of hits. Notre Dame starter Scott Kerrigan (1-4) took the loss after allowing six earned runs, nine hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings.
Virginia took a 2-0 lead in the third inning on a two-run single from Thaiss, scoring Adam Haseley (Fr., Windermere, Fla.) and Pinero. The Cavaliers tacked on a run in the fifth inning on a two-out RBI double to right-center by Thaiss.
UVa scored three runs in the seventh inning to double its lead to 6-0. Haseley hit a one-out solo home run to right, his first college homer. The next four UVa batters also reached base, capped by an RBI double from Towns and a run-scoring single from Pavin Smith (Fr., Jupiter, Fla.).
Notre Dame (16-9, 3-8) scored its lone run in the seventh inning as Ricky Sanchez hit a leadoff triple and came home on a Zak Kutsulis sacrifice fly.
Virginia blew the game open with three runs in the eighth inning. Thomas Woodruff (Sr., Clifton, Va.) hit into a fielder’s choice, with Ernie Clement (Fr., Rochester, N.Y.) scoring on the play to make it 7-1. With two outs, Towns lined a single to center to bring home two more runs.
Lowry hit the go-ahead single with two outs in the top of the ninth inning to score Doherty and break a 2-2 tie as UVa finished off the doubleheader sweep. UVa swept an ACC doubleheader on the road for the first time since April 17, 2012, when the Cavaliers took both ends of a twinbill at Duke.
Tommy Doyle (Fr., Vienna, Va.) got the final out of the eighth inning on three pitches and earned his first college win, improving to 1-0. Josh Sborz (Jr., McLean, Va.) worked a scoreless ninth inning to nab his sixth save. Notre Dame reliever Sean Guenther (1-1) allowed the go-ahead run in the ninth inning to take the loss.
Both starting pitchers were tremendous. Virginia starter Connor Jones (So., Chesapeake, Va.) worked a career-high 7 2/3 innings and struck out nine batters, also a career best. He allowed two earned runs, five hits and two walks. Notre Dame starter Brandon Bielak pitched 7 1/3 innings, giving up two earned runs, four hits and four walks while striking out five.
After going hitless through the first 3 2/3 innings, Virginia recorded three consecutive hits to score twice in the fourth inning. Thaiss drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a single from Smith. Doherty followed with a single to left to bring in Thaiss, and Robbie Coman (Jr., Lake Vista, Fla.) blooped a single to score Smith.
Notre Dame took advantage of a leadoff walk to score in the fifth. Ryan Lidge drew the walk to start the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. He moved to third on a groundout and scored on Jones’s second wild pitch of the inning.
The Fighting Irish tied the game in the seventh inning. Ryan Bull and Robert Youngdahl hit back-to-back doubles to open the inning and put runners at second and third base. One out later, Kutsulis grounded out to Pinero at shortstop, bringing Bull home. Youngdahl stole third base but was stranded there as Jones stuck out Kyle Richardson to end the inning.
The Cavaliers forged ahead in the ninth inning. Doherty drew a leadoff walk from Guenther and moved to second on a Coman sacrifice bunt. With two outs and facing reliever Evy Ruibal, Lowry lined a single to right field, bringing Doherty around to score. Lowry then came home when Haseley bounced a double down the right-field line.