May 9, 2014
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A three-run fifth inning gave Georgia Tech the lead, but No. 1 Virginia rallied with a pair in the seventh and hung on for a 4-3 victory over the Yellow Jackets Friday night at Davenport Field in Charlottesville, Va.
Connor Justus and Daniel Spingola each had two hits and Josh Heddinger gave the Yellow Jackets a solid start, but the Cavaliers dealt Tech another one-run defeat. The Jackets fell to 29-21 overall, 14-14 in the ACC, while Virginia improved to 39-9, 19-6.
Tech slipped to 8-9 in one-run games (5-6 in ACC games). Of Tech’s 50 games this season, 25 have been decided by two runs or less.
Virginia struck for a run in the first and expanded the lead to 2-0 in the fourth before Tech rallied. A.J. Murray and Justus led off with consecutive singles to set the stage and Brandon Gold moved both into scoring position with a bunt.
Ryan Peurifoy’s chopper up the first-base line couldn’t be handled by the pitcher and the error went for an RBI and put Tech on the board. Mott Hyde followed with a sacrifice fly to right that tied the game and Spingola chopped an RBI single down the third-base line to give the visitors the lead.
Tech threatened again with two on and one out in the sixth, ending the night for Virginia starter Nathan Kirby. But Austin Young escaped the jam then retired the Jackets in order in the seventh to keep the deficit at just one.
Heddinger turned the 3-2 lead over to his bullpen with one out in the seventh after walking Kenny Towns and allowing a double to John La Prise. Sam Clay emerged to fan Nate Irving for the second out, but Mike Papi went the other way for a two-run single to right that gave Virginia the lead.
Whit Mayberry retired Tech in order in the eighth and closer Nick Howard worked around Justus’ lead-off walk in the ninth to nail down his 16th save and give Young his first win (1-0).
Heddinger was on the hook for four runs and six hits in 6.1 innings with two walks and two strikeouts and absorbed the loss (3-3).
Hyde ripped a single off Kirby on the game’s first pitch and wasted little time extending his reached-base streak to 28 games – the ACC’s longest streak. Spingola and Murray each extended hitting streaks to seven and six games, respectively.
The series continues Saturday at 12 p.m. – a game that was moved up from 4 p.m. due to impending weather.