GREENVILLE, N.C. – Kenny Towns launched a pair of grand slams and drove in eight runs as the No. 25 Virginia baseball team opened the 2013 season with 14-4 victory over East Carolina on Friday afternoon in front of 3,511 fans at Clark-LeClair Stadium.
Towns hit the grand slams in the first and seventh innings – both to the opposite field. They were the first two career home runs for Towns, who entered the year with 12 career RBI. Towns recorded the most RBI by a UVa player in a game since Brandon Guyer had nine on March 13, 2007, against Niagara.
Branden Cogswell added three hits and scored three times for Virginia, while Brandon Downes drove in three runs. The Cavaliers got runners on base in every inning.
Three freshman Virginia pitchers combined to scatter eight hits in their first career appearances. Josh Sborz worked 2 1/3 innings out of the bullpen to earn the win. UVa starting pitcher Brandon Waddell went 4 2/3 innings, giving up two runs (one earned), five hits and two walks while striking out five. David Rosenberger tossed the final two innings to finish off the win.
ECU starting pitcher Jeff Hoffman worked 4 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs, four hits and four walks while striking out seven in taking the loss.
Virginia blew the game open with an eight-run seventh inning, doing all of its damage with two out. Cogswell recorded his third hit, an RBI single, before Jared King walked to load the bases. Derek Fisher was hit by a pitch to force in a run, and Downes followed with a 2-run double. After Joe McCarthy walked on four pitches, Towns crushed Hayden White’s next offering over the right-center field wall for his second grand slam, giving UVa a 14-3 lead.
ECU added an eighth-inning run on a Jack Reinheimer solo home run off Rosenberger.
Game 2 of the series has been moved to 10 a.m. Saturday because of a threat for inclement weather.