No. 1 Baseball turns back Liberty, 8-2

Lewicki douses No. 24 Flames as Cavaliers roll following weeklong exam break


Junior first baseman Mike Papi batted leadoff in Virginia’s win. He finished 2-4 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored.

Ryan O'Connor | The Cavalier Daily

The Virginia baseball team returned to action Wednesday night after a weeklong hiatus for final exams, playing in-state adversary Liberty at Davenport Field. The No. 1 Cavaliers (38-9, 18-6 ACC) doused the No. 24 Flames, 8-2, as 4,354 fans—the largest-ever crowd for a Virginia midweek home game—looked on.

Senior right-hander Artie Lewicki tossed seven scoreless innings, tying the longest start of his collegiate career, to slow down a Liberty ball club (35-11, 19-1 Big South) that had won 17 of its last 20 games. Lewicki allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out six.

Redshirt senior right-hander Whit Mayberry struck out the side in the ninth inning after Liberty senior leftfielder Nick Lacik hit a two-run triple off freshman right-hander Connor Jones with two out in the eighth.

Junior third baseman Kenny Towns led a balanced Virginia attack with two hits and three RBI. Towns knocked in junior designated hitter Nick Howard for the first run of the evening when he doubled down the left-field line with one out in the second. Junior catcher Nate Irving drove in Towns with a two-out single to left-center field.

The Cavaliers scored three more runs in the third after loading the bases with one out to chase Flames junior left-hander Jared Lyons. Junior second baseman Branden Cogswell hit a sacrifice fly to score junior left fielder Derek Fisher from third, and Towns followed with a two-run single to center.

Virginia scored twice in the fourth and once in the eighth.

“I thought that overall was one of the better offensive approaches that we’ve had this year,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said. “Tonight we were as opportunistic as we’ve been for quite some time. It was great to see.”

The Cavaliers continue their five-game home stand this weekend with a three-game series against ACC competitor Georgia Tech. First pitches are set for 6 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.

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