April 13, 2017
BLACKSBURG, Va. — The No. 12 Virginia baseball team held off a late Virginia Tech rally to claim a 10-9 win Thursday evening in a slugfest at English Field at Union Park in Blacksburg. The game is part of the Commonwealth Clash presented by Virginia529. The Cavaliers (28-8, 9-7 ACC) won their seventh straight game as closer Tommy Doyle (Jr., Vienna, Va.) struck out Ryan Tufts to end the game and strand runners at second and third base.
“We knew Virginia Tech would not go away,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “This means a lot to both teams, and certainly they proved they can swing the bats, but so did we as well. It was a great college baseball game. We just feel fortunate to come out of here with a win in the first one.”
Caleb Knight (Jr., Checotah, Okla.) and Jake McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.) each had three hits, while every UVA starter recorded at least one hit. The Cavaliers racked up 17 hits and six stolen bases in the win. The Hokies finished with 14 hits as the potent offenses slugged it out during a four-hour, 15-minute marathon.
Virginia reliever Alec Bettinger (Sr., Woodbridge, Va.) earned the win and improved to 6-0 after firing four innings to bridge the gap to Doyle, who pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to claim his 10th save. UVA starter Derek Casey (Jr., Mechanicsville, Va.) grinded through control problems to work 3 2/3 innings and give up four runs and six hits. After walking five batters in his first seven starts, Casey issued four free passes Thursday.
Virginia Tech starter Connor Coward (5-2) fired three-plus innings, allowing eight earned runs, 10 hits and three walks in taking the loss.
Virginia grabbed the early lead on a two-run homer from Cameron Simmons (So., Royersford, Pa.) in the top of the second, but Virginia Tech countered with a run in the bottom of the inning on a Mac Caples RBI single.
UVA batted around and scored five runs in the third inning, as the first five Cavaliers reached base and eventually came around to score. With Adam Haseley (Jr., Windermere, Fla.) and Pavin Smith (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) on base, Robbie Coman (Gr., Lake Worth, Fla.) lined a double into the left-field corner to score both runners. Knight followed with an RBI single, and Simmons ripped a double to right-center. A groundout from Justin Novak (Jr., Tokyo, Japan) plated Knight before McCarthy pulled a run-scoring single to right for a 7-1 lead.
Virginia Tech put its first four batters on base in its half of the third, scoring on a Ryan Tufts single and loading the bases with none out. Casey battled through, getting Sam Fragale to fly to short left field and striking out JD Mundy before Caples grounded out to shortstop to end the threat and limit the Hokies to one run.
UVA scored in the fourth on a Knight sac fly, but Tech responded with a two-out, two-run single from Tom Stoffel in its half of the inning. The Cavaliers scored in its fourth straight inning in the fifth as Andy Weber (So., Aurora, Ohio) lined the first offering from reliever Packy Naughton to left for a two-out single to bring home McCarthy.
The Cavaliers took advantage of a pair of walks in the eighth and scored on a double steal as Smith swiped home, scoring around a low throw after Knight broke for second and threw on the brakes.
Virginia Tech scored four in the eighth to pull within 10-9. Cooper led off with a homer to left field and with one out, Sam Fragale lined a single to right to score a run. JD Mundy followed with a two-run home run to right field. The Hokies put runners at the corners with two outs in the ninth when when Jack Owens singled to move Cooper to third. Owens then stole second, but Doyle struck out Tufts swinging on a 1-2 pitch to end the game.
Game 2 is set for 5:30 p.m. Friday and airs on ACC Network Extra, which is available to authenticated subscribers of ESPN3 through WatchESPN and the ESPN app. WINA 1070-AM/98.9-FM has the radio broadcast for the full series, with online links available at VirginiaSports.com and WINA.com. A link to live statistics also can be found on VirginiaSports.com.
The Commonwealth Clash presented by Virginia529 is a head-to-head, points-based competition between the athletic teams at University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. The Commonwealth Clash encourages a friendly, statewide rivalry between the two schools across all school-sponsored sports with 22 individual event points on the line. The school that accumulates 11.5 points or more will be crowned the winner and take home the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash trophy. Visit TheCommonwealthClash.com for more information and updated standings.