May 11, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – No. 22 Virginia pushed the go-ahead run across in the eighth inning and beat Georgia Tech, 6-5, in a back-and-fourth battle Friday night at Davenport Field in Charlottesville, Va. Daniel Spingola had two hits and drove in two for the Yellow Jackets, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
Tech slipped to 30-20 overall, 10-15 in the Atlantic Coast Conference after the Cavaliers (33-14-1, 15-10) capitalized on an eighth-inning error to plate the eventual winning run.
Derek Fisher got Virginia’s eighth inning started with a pop up in no-man’s land behind shortstop that fell in for a double. An error followed to put runners at the corners, and a failed squeeze bunt retired Fisher at the plate for the first out. But Downes, who homered earlier in the night, ripped a single through the left side to score King for the lead.
Virginia closer Justin Thompson nailed down his ninth save by rolling a game-ending double play in the ninth. Sophomore reliever Alex Cruz, who had won six-straight decisions, was tagged the loss (6-2) by allowing three hits and the unearned run with two strikeouts in two innings.
Junior Buck Farmer gave the Jackets six innings with six strikeouts, and gutted out his start after Virginia scored its first five runs in the first three innings on four home-run balls. Farmer allowed just three base runners after the third inning, and the Tech offense took him off the hook.
After the Cavaliers struck for a 3-0 lead in the first thanks to a two-run homer from Stephen Bruno and a solo shot from Fisher in the next at bat, the Jackets went to work in the second. Three consecutive singles from Hyde, Smith and Spingola – the last of which being a two-run hit to center – allowed Tech to trim the margin to 3-2.
Downes went yard for the hosts – a solo shot to left – increasing Virginia’s lead to 4-2 in the second, and an RBI ground out from Palka in the third pulled Tech within one again. Another blast from Bruno in the third gave the Cavaliers a two-run lead back.
But Tech struck for the equalizer in the fourth when Dove drove in a pair by hammering a single to center field. Smith got the rally started with a one-out single, Spingola followed with a double and Kyle Wren walked to load the bases.
That’s all Tech got, tagging starter Branden Klein for five runs and five hits in 3 1/3 innings. Kyle Crockett pitched 3 2/3 innings of shutout ball with two hits while Nick Howard pitched a scoreless eighth and was credited with the win (2-0).
The series continues Saturday at 1 p.m. and the ACC Game of the Week is live on the Regional Sports Network.