No. 1 Baseball edges Virginia Commonwealth at The Diamond
Downes launches game-winning home run on first pitch of the 10th
Tuesday night in Richmond, the Virginia baseball team won a rollercoaster ball game against Virginia Commonwealth, 5-4, on junior center fielder Brandon Downes’ 10th-inning solo home run. The No. 1 Cavaliers (34-7, 16-5 ACC) bounced back from Sunday’s loss to North Carolina despite blowing a one-run lead in the ninth inning.
Junior closer Nick Howard stepped to the mound for the save opportunity after nailing down two Virginia victories this weekend but was not at his customary sharpness, yielding two walks and a single to load the bases for senior catcher Chris Ayers. Howard got Ayers down to his last strike, but the Rams backstop put the ball in play, and junior second baseman Brandon Cogswell committed a one-run error. Howard responded by striking out senior center fielder Bill Cullen on three pitches to end the inning.
Downes led off the top of the 10th, and he hammered the first pitch he saw from junior left-hander Matt Lees over the wall in left field. The Cavaliers put men on first and second with two outs, but sophomore first baseman Robbie Coman flied out to keep the Cavaliers from scoring an insurance run.
Virginia Commonwealth (28-10, 9-4 A-10) loaded the bases against redshirt senior right-hander Whit Mayberry in the bottom half of the frame, but the Cavalier reliever used a fielder’s choice to escape the jam and seal the Cavalier win.
Junior left fielder Derek Fisher homered in his second game back from a broken hamate bone in his wrist. Senior right-hander Artie Lewicki started for Virginia, yielding two runs in four and a third innings.
Virginia is back in action Wednesday night for a home game against Richmond. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.