Virginia baseball dominates three-game series against Clemson
In a weekend highlighted by strong offensive performances, the No. 13 Virginia baseball team used timely hitting and pitching to pick up two wins against Clemson in a three-game series in South Carolina. The Cavaliers topped the Tigers 6-5 Friday, fell 7-6 Saturday and rebounded to take the series Sunday with an 8-5 win.
Freshman starter Brandon Waddell struggled on the mound for the Cavaliers (17-2, 4-2 ACC) Friday, giving up five runs in 6.1 innings against the Tigers (11-7, 3-3 ACC). Waddell left the game with the Cavaliers trailing 5-1, but the bullpen was able to hold Clemson without another run while the Virginia offense rallied. Virginia entered the final frame down by three runs, but the team cut the deficit to one before sophomore outfielder Mike Papi tied the game with a clutch single up the middle, scoring senior second baseman Reed Gragnani. Sophomore Kyle Crockett fired 2.2 innings of scoreless relief in extra innings, and in the top of the 11th inning, Papi came through again, homering to right field to give the Cavaliers a dramatic 6-5 come-from-behind win.
Virginia’s starting pitcher put the team in an early hole again Saturday. Senior Scott Silverstein gave up six runs in just 3.1 innings as the Cavaliers quickly fell behind 6-3. Virginia picked up two runs in the fifth inning and tied the game in the eighth when sophomore catcher Nate Irving brought home sophomore third baseman and pitcher Nick Howard as he grounded into a double play. However, Tiger sophomore catcher Garrett Boulware answered the Cavaliers’ rally with a two-out single to right field in the bottom of the ninth to plate the winning run and even the series.
In the rubber game Sunday, Virginia jumped out to an early 5-0 lead highlighted by a two-run single from redshirt senior first baseman Jared King in the second inning. Howard was strong on the mound, giving up two runs in six innings of work, helping Virginia build an 8-5 lead heading into the final frame. Crockett impressed again, closing out the Tigers to clinch the series win.
Virginia now prepares for a two-game midweek series against Yale at Davenport Field Tuesday and Wednesday.