Virginia baseball team beats Virginia Tech to clinch series - Cavalier Insider: Cavalier Insider

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Virginia baseball team beats Virginia Tech to clinch series

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Posted: Saturday, March 29, 2014 8:00 pm

The Virginia baseball team boasted clutch hitting and good pitching Saturday.

Virginia Tech displayed neither.

Joe McCarthy had three hits and four RBI to help UVa beat its rival 9-2 on a rainy afternoon at Davenport Field.

"We trust our pitchers to go out and do the job and our pitchers are learning to trust us to go out and get them some runs," McCarthy said. "It’s all starting to fall together."

UVa (22-4, 8-2 ACC), which lost the series with Tech last year, clinched the series win Saturday. The series concludes Sunday. UVa has now won seven of the teams’ past nine series.

The Hokies (12-11-1, 5-6), who stranded eight runners on base in Friday’s 2-1 loss to UVa, left 13 men on base Saturday.

"We’ve just got to get better at timely hitting," Tech left fielder Kyle Wernicki said.

Tech had nine hits to UVa’s eight, but the Hokies were 1 of 11 with runners in scoring position. In two innings, Tech loaded the bases but came away empty.

"That historically is something that we’ve done well in this program, and that is to make the clutch pitches with runners in scoring position," UVa coach Brian O’Connor said.

Brendon Hayden smacked a two-run homer to give Tech a 2-0 lead in the third.

But UVa answered with five runs in the fourth. After a single and an error put two men on base, McCarthy had an RBI double. Brandon Downes drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Robbie Coman had an RBI double.

Hokies coach Patrick Mason then pulled starting pitcher Sean Keselica.

"The second time through [a lineup], he has struggled," Mason said.

Reliever Tanner McIntyre walked three of the next four batters to bring in the fourth run. Reliever Phil Sciretta hit Mike Papi with a pitch to bring home the fifth run of the inning.

"We gave too many runs away in the fourth," Mason said.

McCarthy belted a solo homer to extend the lead to 6-2 in the fifth.

"I’ve never seen anything like that," O’Connor said. "That ball was hit on the foul line and the ball went … 25 feet back into play. … It jumped in mid-air and went the other direction."

UVa added three runs in the sixth, when McCarthy supplied a two-RBI single.

The Tech hitters were just 4 of 18 with runners on base.

Tech had men on first and second with two outs in the first, but Keselica grounded out.

The Hokies loaded the bases with one out in the second. But Papi caught Saige Jenco’s fly ball to left and gunned out Wernicki at home.

Up 2-0, Tech had men on first and second with two outs in the fourth, but Alex Perez popped up.

Down 5-2, Tech loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. But freshman reliever Connor Jones entered the game and struck out Wernicki and Ricky Surum.

"It was exciting," Jones said. "It was a lot of fun."

Trailing 6-2, the Hokies had men on first and third in the sixth. But Mark Zagunis hit into a fielder’s choice, with Jenco tagged out at home. Hayden then grounded out.

Jones (4-0) pitched the final 4 2/3 innings and did not give up a run.

"We’re really fortunate that we’ve got some guys in that bullpen that I would imagine at a lot of other places would be in starting rotations," O’Connor said.

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