Big Third Inning Gives No. 1 Cavs Sweep of East Carolina

The No. 1-ranked Virginia baseball team finished off a series sweep of East Carolina with a 6-2 victory Sunday afternoon at Davenport Field. The Cavaliers surrendered just four runs in the weekend series in winning its sixth-consecutive game.

“East Carolina year in and year out has a very good ball club and I think it speaks to the level of play that we played with this weekend in the fact that we were able to sweep all three ballgames,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “The thing that I was impressed with our club the most was the defensive intensity that we played with was pretty special and the fact that we didn’t have an error all weekend. If you throw strikes like we did on the mound and you handle the ball defensively like we did, you’re going to have a chance to win every ballgame you’re in.”

Virginia’s runs were scored on six two-out hits; the Cavaliers were 7-for-14 with runners on base and two outs. Freshman Matt Thaiss went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI to highlight the Cavaliers’ 13-hit day. Six Cavaliers recorded an RBI, while the top eight in the batting order all had at least one hit.

After squandering a two-on, none-out opportunity in the second inning, Virginia broke through in a four-run third inning. With two outs, Joe McCarthy walked, stole second and moved to third on a balk. He scored on a Brandon Downes single to left-center. Downes stole second and scored on a Derek Fisher single to center. Thaiss brought Fisher around with a ringing double to left-center. Nate Irving then singled, scoring Thaiss and giving UVa a 4-0 advantage.

Virginia starting pitcher Brandon Waddell, making his first career Sunday start, went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs, five hits and a walk while striking out a pair in earning the win to improve to 1-1. UVa’s bullpen again was solid, as Whit Mayberry, Kevin Doherty and Nick Howard shut the ECU offense down on just a hit and a walk over the final 3 1/3 innings. UVa’s bullpen has not allowed a run in the last 16 innings, dating to last Sunday.

Virginia continues its nine-game homestand at 3 p.m. Tuesday when it faces VMI at Davenport Field.

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