Pitching was the theme for No. 3 Virginia in this weekend's series at Pittsburgh.
It started with Nathan Kirby's 18-strikeout, no-hit masterpiece Friday and concluded with sophomore lefty Brandon Waddell tossing a career-long eight innings in a 3-0 win over the Panthers to give the Cavaliers (27-5, 12-3 ACC) the series win.
Waddell allowed two hits and did not walk a batter. He struck out three and needed just 71 pitches to improve to 4-1 on the year. Nick Howard recorded his ninth save of the year with a perfect ninth inning. The two combined to face just one batter over the minimum and retired the final 15 batters as Pitt had just two baserunners in the game.
“I’m really proud of our club,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We had a difficult loss yesterday after an exciting win Friday and to come back on the road and win the series is huge. We’ve had three road series in the league this year and we won each of them, and that speaks to the character of this team. We didn’t hang our heads after yesterday we did enough to win. Brandon Waddell was magnificent today. That was as efficient of an eight innings as you will see.”
Virginia received three impressive starts during the series from its rotation – Kirby, Saturday starter Josh Sborz and Waddell – which combined to allow one run in 22 1/3 innings (0.40 ERA). The trio gave up five hits and four walks while striking out 26.
In allowing just two runs in the series, Virginia surrendered its fewest runs ever in an ACC road series and matched the fewest runs it has given up in any three-game ACC series.
Mike Papi and John La Prise each went 2-for-4 to pace the Cavaliers’ offense. Out of the nine-hole in the batting order, La Prise posted a team-high five hits over the weekend.
Virginia scored in the fourth inning as Papi doubled high off the right-field wall and scored one out later on a Howard single to left.
The Cavaliers tacked on two insurance runs in the ninth inning against Pitt closer Hobie Harris, snapping his 13 1/3-inning scoreless streak. Joe McCarthy drew a leadoff walk, advanced on a Howard sacrifice bunt and scored when Brandon Downes doubled to right-center. One out later, La Prise grounded a single into center field off reliever Jon Danielczyk to bring Downes home.
The Cavaliers travel to James Madison Tuesday for a 6 p.m. contest before returning home next weekend for a three-game series against No. 15 Clemson.