No. 1 Baseball rams Virginia Commonwealth
Cavaliers finish 29-3 at Davenport Field, set program record for home attendance
Former Virginia baseball coach Dennis Womack delivered the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday night before the No. 1 Cavaliers faced off with in-state rival Virginia Commonwealth at Davenport Field. Then, Virginia and current dugout-man Brian O’Connor posted a wire-to-wire 12-3 win against the Rams to complete their home slate at 29-3.
The Cavaliers (42-9, 21-6 ACC) dealt Virginia Commonwealth (33-16, 14-8 A-10) a second loss in as many meetings between the teams in 2014, this time earning a more comfortable win. Virginia and the Rams battled for 11 innings in a 5-4 Cavalier victory April 22.
Tuesday, freshman right-hander Alec Bettinger (6-0) was in control once again in his role as one of Virginia’s go-to midweek starters, yielding one run in five innings while disdaining to issue a single free pass. Fellow freshman right-hander Connor Jones contributed two and two-thirds perfect innings of relief.
The Cavaliers sent every man to the plate in a four-run first inning. Junior first baseman Mike Papi set the table with a leadoff single, coming home from second on sophomore right fielder Joe McCarthy’s single to right field.
Rams senior left-hander Logan Kanuik nearly escaped the inning with just one run of damage, but he issued a pair of walks with two outs, the second to junior catcher Nate Irving with the bases loaded. Sophomore third baseman John La Prise followed with a two-run double to left.
Virginia increased its lead from 6-1 to 11-1 in the seventh, when the team batted around once more. Five consecutive Cavaliers reached base against reliever Tyler Buckley to open the frame. Junior center fielder Brandon Downes, Papi, freshman shortstop Daniel Pinero and junior left fielder Derek Fisher all had run-scoring at bats.
Virginia welcomed a program-record 115,340 fans through its home gates in 2014.
The Cavaliers conclude their regular season this Thursday-Saturday with a three-game series at Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, N.C. First pitch for the first two games is set for 6 p.m.; Saturday’s finale is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.