No. 8 Baseball sweeps Blue Devils

Friday's walk-off win highlights big weekend for Cavaliers


Final exams may have put the No. 8 Virginia baseball team on hiatus, but the break did nothing to stop its momentum. In their first action in over a week, the Cavaliers dispatched Duke in a three-game sweep in their final home ACC series of the season.

Virginia (42-8, 20-7 ACC) struck first in Friday’s opening game, picking up two runs in the first inning on an RBI single from freshman outfielder Joe McCarthy. The lead was short lived, as the Blue Devils (25-26, 9-18 ACC) scored two runs in both the third and fourth innings to take a 4-2 lead. Down 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth, the Cavaliers staged an impressive comeback. Sophomore outfielder Brandon Downes scored on a wild pitch to cut the game to 5-4, and senior second baseman Reed Gragnani drove home freshman shortstop John LaPrise to tie the game. After sophomore Kenny Towns was intentionally walked to load the bases, sophomore catcher Nate Irving singled through the right side of the infield for the 6-5 walk-off win.

Photo: Marshall Bronfin

Saturday’s game was considerably less dramatic, as the Cavalier offense came alive early. Virginia poured on 15 runs in the first four innings to give redshirt senior starter Scott Silverstein a huge lead. Duke responded with 5 runs in the fifth, but the Cavalier lead was too much to overcome. Four Virginia relievers combined for four innings to close out the game and help the Cavaliers take the 17-8 win.

The offensive display continued Sunday, with both teams putting up big numbers. The Blue Devils scored first with three runs in the second, but Virginia scored five runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead. The Cavaliers went up 7-3 in the fourth inning, but Duke cut the lead to 7-6 in fifth. Virginia put the game out of reach as they exploded for seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings to take the 14-6 win and complete the sweep.

With the win, the Cavaliers improve to 42-8 with four games left on the schedule. Virginia has its final home game of the year Tuesday against VCU, before heading to Chapel Hill next weekend for a series with No. 1 North Carolina.

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