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Baseball demolishes James Madison

Bats burst out with 14 runs on 18 hits, Cavaliers snap home losing streak

<p>Senior right fielder Thomas Woodruff piled up four hits in five trips to the plate against the Dukes. He scored three runs, drove in another and also stole a base. </p>

Senior right fielder Thomas Woodruff piled up four hits in five trips to the plate against the Dukes. He scored three runs, drove in another and also stole a base.

Nothing could stop No. 15 Virginia baseball Wednesday night at Davenport Field. Not even the weather. Clad in their 1980s-themed throwback uniforms, the Cavaliers blew past James Madison, 14-1.

“Certainly after this weekend, this was a big win — a big day — for us,” coach Brian O’Connor said. “For the first few innings there we certainly capitalized on a lot of opportunities, which was great to see from an offensive standpoint.”

Virginia (20-12, 6-9 ACC) put up 14 runs on 18 hits — both season highs. All nine starters recorded a hit — six collected multiple. While the feat is not wholly unexpected — the Dukes have a 6.18 ERA — it is remarkable nonetheless.

“I think today we just came out with a great approach right from the start,” senior third baseman Kenny Towns said.

The Cavaliers wasted no time in pouncing on Dukes freshman Tucker McCoy. Freshman Adam Haseley and sophomore Daniel Pinero led off the game with back-to-back singles — the latter scored by Haseley. Towns added two more with a homer to left field, his second of the year.

This first-inning advantage marked the first Virginia lead since the fourth inning of their midweek game against VMI.

But the Cavaliers were far from done. They scored four more runs in the bottom of the second on four hits, including a two-run single by Towns.

An 85-minute rain delay interrupted the second inning, but it could not dampen Virginia’s red-hot bats. The Cavaliers hung three more runs on the board in the ensuing frame.

James Madison (12-18, 2-7 CAA) scored its only run in the third inning against freshman righty Derek Casey. Junior Kyle Weston led off the frame with a single and later scored.

The contest was all but over by the end of the third. At that point, Virginia led 10-1, had nine hits and had sent 25 batters to the plate.

Somewhat surprisingly, Casey returned to the mound following the break. He threw four strong innings of one-run ball, walking three, allowing one hit and issuing no free passes.

“It was good to see Derek Casey go out and give us another strong start,” O’Connor said. “He certainly could have went deeper into the game, but there were other pitchers that I wanted to get out there in that situation to get them some work.”

As was to be expected, Virginia fell off its searing pace in the final two-thirds of the contest. They did tack on two more runs in the sixth on RBI singles from senior Thomas Woodruff and sophomore Matt Thaiss.

Woodruff was the star of the game. The Clifton, Virginia native went 4-5, scored three runs, drove in one more and stole a bag. Entering Wednesday’s game, Woodruff had four hits in 34 at-bats.

“It was a lot of fun,” Woodruff said. “I kind of saw it coming in [batting practice]. This being my last year I really try to take every opportunity to get out there and have some fun.”

Following a series against Louisville in which the Cavaliers failed to take care of the game, Virginia minded the details with greater attention. Freshman second baseman Ernie Clement did commit an error, but the team was markedly improved in the field.

Cavalier hurlers issued only three free passes.

Towns led Virginia with five runs batted in. He and freshman Pavin Smith were the only Cavaliers with multiple RBI.

Junior Robbie Coman was a late scratch after a grounder struck him in the face during warmups. His status for the weekend series with Georgia Tech is uncertain.


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