May 20, 2017
ATLANTA, Ga. — The No. 9 Virginia baseball team scored a run in the ninth inning to break a tie and earn a 10-9 win at Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon in the teams’ regular-season finale at Russ Chandler Stadium. Virginia (41-13, 18-12 ACC) won the series, two games to one, to claim its sixth straight ACC series.
UVA will compete in the ACC Baseball Championship next week at Louisville Slugger Field in Louisville, Ky. The Cavaliers locked up the 4-seed in the tournament. Brackets will be announced Sunday.
The top four in the Virginia batting order — Ernie Clement (Jr., Rochester, N.Y.), Jake McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.), Adam Haseley (Jr., Windermere, Fla.) and Pavin Smith (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) combined to go 9-for-16 with eight runs and seven RBI.
Smith went 3-for-4 with a double, home run and five RBI. Now with 70 RBI for the season, he broke UVA’s single-season RBI record, eclipsing the previous mark of 67 by Joe Koshansky (2004) and Kenny Towns (2015). Smith drove in nine runs in UVA’s two wins in the series.
McCarthy went 3-for-5 and finished the series with nine hits. Clement had a pair of hits and scored twice, while Haseley was 1-for-2 with three walks and three runs to finish the regular season with an even .400 batting average. Georgia Tech’s Wade Bailey went 5-for-6 with a home run and two RBI.
Virginia reliever Tommy Doyle (Jr., Vienna, Va.) pitched the final 2 1/3 innings and did not allow a run to earn the win and improve to 3-1 on the year. UVA starter Evan Sperling (So., Poquoson, Va.) worked 1 1/3 innings, giving up three runs, three hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
Georgia Tech reliever Zac Ryan (3-4) allowed the ninth-inning run and took the loss. Starter Connor Thomas worked three innings, allowing four runs, four hits and three walks while striking out a pair.
Virginia bolted to a 3-0 lead just four batters into the game when Smith lined a bases-clearing double to left-center, but Georgia Tech (28-27, 11-19) countered with a pair of runs in its half of the inning on a leadoff homer from Wade Bailey and two-out RBI single from Coleman Poje.
Justin Novak (Jr., Tokyo, Japan) hit his first home run of the year with one out in the second to give UVA a 4-2 edge. The Yellow Jackets again responded in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases before a passed ball allowed Keenan Innis to cross the plate.
UVA used a two-out rally to score five runs in the fourth. Andy Weber (So., Aurora, Ohio) singled on an 0-2 pitch and moved to third on a Clement single. On an ensuing pickoff throw to first, Clement froze but the first baseman Poje did not catch the throw, allowing Weber to score and Clement to move to third. McCarthy and Haseley followed with RBI singles before Smith launched a two-run homer high over the right-center field wall, his 12th of the season.
Georgia Tech tied the game with a six-run sixth inning, capped by a two-out grand slam by Poje off Bennett Sousa (Jr., North Palm Beach, Fla.).
UVA took a 10-9 lead in the ninth as Haseley drew a leadoff walk, moved to third on a Smith single to right and scored on a Robbie Coman (Gr., Lake Worth, Fla.) sac fly to right. Georgia Tech threatened by putting a runner on with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but Doyle induced a routine fly to left from Trevor Craport to end the game.