Feb. 18, 2017
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Behind a stellar debut start from right-hander Evan Sperling (So., Poquoson, Va.), the No. 16 Virginia baseball team posted a 10-6 road win over The Citadel Saturday in the Charleston Crab House Challenge at Joe Riley Park in Charleston, S.C.
In his first game at Virginia, Sperling (1-0) worked six innings and allowed an unearned run, two hits and two walks while striking out six.
“Evan did a really nice job in his first college start,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “I know that he has been waiting for a long time for this opportunity and it was a long year last year for him while he was dealing with his injury. It was great to see him out there competing. He did a fantastic job.”
Virginia piled up 14 hits, with Nate Eikhoff (So., Bristow, Va.) going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Cameron Simmons (So., Royersford, Pa.) recorded two hits and matched a career high with four RBI, while Adam Haseley (Jr., Windermere, Fla.) and Pavin Smith (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) each homered.
The Citadel starter Thomas Byelick (0-1) lasted just one-third of an inning, giving up three runs (two earned), two hits and two walks. The Bulldogs used eight pitchers in the game.
For the second straight day, Virginia jumped to a first-inning lead as UVA scored three runs while knocking Byelick from the game. With one out and runners on second and third, Smith hit a slow roller to first base, but the throw to first was dropped by Byelick, allowing Ernie Clement (Jr., Rochester, N.Y.) to score. UVA then loaded the bases, and Eikhoff followed with a run-scoring single to left. Simmons then walked on a full-count pitch to force in a run.
UVA tacked on a pair of runs in the second inning as McCarthy singled and Haseley followed with an opposite-field, two-run homer over the left-field wall.
The Citadel scored an unearned run to crack the scoreboard in the fourth inning. A dropped fly ball to lead off the inning allowed William Kinney to reach base, and he scored two batters later on a groundout by Joe Sabatini. The Bulldogs were hitless until J.D. Davis’ two-out single in the fifth inning.
UVA added a run in the fifth on an RBI groundout from Drew Blakely (Galesburg, Mich.), and scored twice more in the sixth on a solo homer to right field from Smith and a RBI single from Simmons. The Cavaliers pushed the advantage to 10-1 in the eighth on a two-run double by Simmons.
The Citadel charged back in its half of the eighth inning with five runs, capped by a two-run homer from Sabatini.
Virginia concludes its trip to Charleston at 10 a.m. Sunday against Kansas. The audio stream can be heard free of charge on VirginiaSports.com.