Not a bad day for the Nathan's on the Virginia baseball team.
Behind six strong innings from starting pitcher Nathan Kirby and the first career home run from catcher Nate Irving, the No. 1 -ranked Virginia baseball team defeated Monmouth, 6-3, Saturday afternoon in the first game of a three-game weekend series at Davenport Field. Virginia improved to 7-2 on the year.
Kirby gave up an unearned run, four hits and a walk while striking out five in earning the win. Connor Jones induced a game-ending double play to pick up his first career save. In his first appearance of the season, Austin Young tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Cavaliers.
Mike Papi reached base in all five of his plate appearances for UVa, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks as well as a hit by pitch. Irving hit a three-run home run, while Daniel Pinero and Branden Cogswell each added a pair of hits.
Leading 1-0, the Cavaliers stretched their lead to 4-0 in the third inning. After Brandon Downes singled and Joe McCarthy walked with one out, Irving cranked a three-run home run to left field with two outs for his first career long ball.
Monmouth countered with a run in the fourth, but UVa answered with a run in its half of the fourth as Pinero lined a double down the left-field line and scored on a Papi single to right-center. The Cavaliers added a run in the fifth inning when Pinero stroked a two-out single to bring home Nick Howard, who singled to lead off the frame.
The teams will finish the series with a doubleheader Sunday beginning at noon.