Virginia Earns Series-Opening Defeat of Monmouth, 4-2
March 4, 2016
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The Virginia baseball team opened its three-game series with Monmouth with a 4-2 victory Friday at Davenport Field. UVA starter Connor Jones (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) pitched 7 1/3 innings to earn the win as Virginia (6-3) scored its third straight victory.
“Connor did a nice job pitching into the eighth inning, which was important,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “He was very efficient with his pitches, and we did enough to win the game. He certainly didn’t have his best stuff, but he gave us a chance to win, which is key in Game 1 of the series.”
Jones (2-0) gave up two earned runs, six hits and four walks while striking out five. Relievers Kevin Doherty (Sr., Laytonsville, Md.) and Alec Bettinger (Jr., Woodbridge, Va.) retired the final five batters in order to finish off the game. Bettinger notched his third save with a perfect ninth inning. Monmouth starter Frank Trimarco (1-1) took the loss after allowing four runs (three earned), six hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five.
Matt Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.) homered for UVA, while Andy Weber (Fr., Aurora, Ohio) went 2-for-3 as the Cavaliers finished with six hits. Monmouth (2-6) also recorded six hits, with Shaine Hughes and Dan Shea each picking up a pair.
Virginia was hitless for 3 1/3 innings before Thaiss took a 3-2 pitch and deposited it over the wall in right-center field for his first home run of the year.
Monmouth knotted the score in the sixth inning. With runners at second and third base and two out, Chris Gaetano hit a grounder up the middle that second baseman Ernie Clement (So., Rochester, N.Y.) dove to keep on the infield. Hughes scored on the play, but Jones was able to leave the bases loaded on a Ryan Bailey groundout to keep the tie in tact.
The Cavaliers promptly responded with a pair of runs in their half of the sixth. After Weber hit a leadoff bunt single, Adam Haseley (So., Windermere, Fla.) was hit by a pitch and Clement bunted the runners over. Thaiss was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Pavin Smith (So., Jupiter, Fla.) lined a sacrifice fly to left field. Daniel Pinero (Jr., Toronto, Ontario) followed with a single up the middle to score Haseley.
UVA pushed its lead to 4-1 in the seventh inning. With one out, Cameron Simmons (Fr., Royersford, Pa.) reached on an error, and Weber and Haseley followed with singles to load the bases. Facing reliever Kyle Aijan, Clement lifted a sac fly to left field to plate Simmons.
Monmouth cut its deficit to 4-2 in the eighth as Hughes and Shea started the inning with back-to-back singles and Christian Holland followed with a sacrifice fly.
The teams continue the series with 1 p.m. games on Saturday and Sunday.