No. 21 Virginia Sweeps Doubleheader at Pitt
April 30, 2016
PITTSBURGH, Pa. — The No. 21 Virginia baseball team swept a doubleheader against Pitt on Saturday afternoon at Cost Field in Pittsburgh. Behind a complete-game effort from Connor Jones (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.), Virginia (29-17, 13-10 ACC) took the first game, 5-1. Justin Novak (So., Tokyo, Japan) hit a two-out, two-run double in the ninth inning in Game 2 as UVA rallied for a 7-6 triumph.
Winners of three straight ACC series, Virginia goes for the three-game series sweep against the Panthers (21-16, 8-11) at 1 p.m. Sunday. WINA 1070-AM and 98.9-FM have the radio call, while links to live video, audio and statistics are available at VirginiaSports.com.
“It’s great to come out of today with two wins. The second game in particular was a great team win,” UVA head coach Brian O’Connor said. “Even in the ninth inning, we made an error and put a runner on second base and Tommy Doyle picks up his teammate. We got the big lead early and (Pitt starter Aaron) Sandefur did a nice job of settling in. He’s a good pitcher, and we knew that. He pitched deep into the ballgame, but we hung in there. Kevin Doherty gave up some runs, but he also got a few really big outs for us. We’re starting to show signs that we can win games in different ways.”
Jones (9-1) fired his second complete game in his last four starts and won his fourth straight start. He allowed an earned run, four hits and two walks while striking out five. He earned his 20th career win and moved into the top 10 in career wins at Virginia, tying Andrew Carraway (2006-09), Jeff Kamrath (2001-05) and Brandon Creswell (1998-2001) for ninth in program history.
Pitt starter T.J. Zeuch suffered his first loss and fell to 5-1 on the season after allowing five runs (two earned), six hits and one walk while striking out eight.
Virginia broke into the scoring column with a three-run fourth inning. With one out and runners on first and second, Haseley lined a double into the gap in left-center, scoring a pair. Haseley came home with two out when first baseman Caleb Parry threw errantly to Zeuch covering first base on the potential third out on a Nate Eikhoff (Fr., Bristow, Va.) grounder.
UVA again capitalized on Pitt miscues in the fifth inning to score two runs. After a leadoff single from Clement, Novak put down a bunt, but catcher Alex Kowalczyk’s throw to second pulled Charles Leblanc off the base for an error. On a dropped third strike on the potential third out, Kowalczyk fired errantly to first base and down the first-base line, allowing both runners to score for a 5-0 UVA lead.
After getting just one infield single in eight innings against Jones, Pitt strung together three hits in the ninth, with Frank Maldonado’s one-out RBI single to right pulling Pitt to within 5-1. After a visit to the mound from pitching coach Karl Kuhn, Jones got David Yanni to ground into a double play to end the game.
Novak’s clutch two-out, two-run double lifted UVA to its second ninth-inning comeback victory of the season. Pitt clawed back from an early 5-0 deficit as starter Aaron Sandefur settled down after a five-run, five-hit Virginia first inning. He allowed just four hits in the next 6 1/3 innings. In 7 1/3 innings, he gave up five runs (four earned), nine hits and one walk while recording one strikeout.
UVA reliever Chesdin Harrington (Fr., Montpelier, Va.) got the final out of the eighth inning to earn his first win as a Cavalier and up his record to 1-1. Kevin Doherty (Sr., Laytonsville, Md.) worked 3 2/3 innings of relief and gave up three runs, six hits and four walks. Starter Alec Bettinger (Jr., Woodbridge, Va.) worked four innings, allowing three earned runs, four hits and two walks.
Pitt reliever Josh Falk (2-5) took the loss after allowing both runs in the ninth inning.
Eight of UVA’s nine starters had at least one hit, with Novak and Pavin Smith (So., Jupiter, Fla.) each recording a pair of hits.
Virginia jumped out quickly to a 5-0 lead, as the first five Cavaliers reached base and scored. Clement hit a leadoff single and moved to second as Novak reached when third baseman Ron Sherman booted his sacrifice bunt. Thaiss singled to load the bases, and Smith and Daniel Pinero (Jr., Toronto, Ontario) followed with back-to-back RBI singles before consecutive RBI groundouts from Haseley and Charlie Cody (So., Chesapeake, Va.). Nate Eikhoff (Fr., Bristow, Va.) then singled to left to plate Pinero for a 5-0 edge.
Pitt started its comeback in the second with an RBI single from Frank Maldonado followed by a sacrifice fly from Yaya Chentouf. The Panthers cut it to 5-4 in the fifth on a two-run home run from Charles Leblanc off Doherty.
The Panthers forged ahead in the sixth inning with a pair of runs. With one out, Maldonado and Chentouf hit back-to-back singles before an RBI double from Manny Pazos. With two outs and the bases loaded, Doherty walked Nick Yarnall to force in the go-ahead run.
Virginia staged a ninth-inning rally to take a 7-6 lead. With one out Eikhoff was hit by a pitch. Pinch runner Ryan Karstetter (Fr., State College, Pa.) moved to second when Cameron Simmons (Fr., Royersford, Pa.) drew a walk. Facing Chentouf, who moved from center field to the mound to close, Clement reached on a fielder’s choice, and Novak smoked a line drive over Yarnall in left field to plate both runners.
Pitt put its leadoff batter on second base in the bottom of the ninth on a two-base throwing error, but Doyle battled back to strand Sherman at third base to end the inning.