The No. 4 Virginia baseball team rallied for a 7-6 victory over Wake Forest Saturday afternoon. Mike Papi hit a two-out grand slam to give UVa a 7-6 lead, capping a five-run, ninth-inning comeback.
Virginia trailed 6-1 after the fourth inning, but the Cavaliers’ pitching staff shut out the Demon Deacons on four hits over the final five innings to set up Papi’s heroics.
UVa reliever Whit Mayberry worked two scoreless innings to claim the win and improve to 3-0. Kyle Crockett struck out the side in the ninth to earn his fifth save.
Virginia starting pitcher Brandon Waddell had one bad inning but still went six innings. He gave up six runs, nine hits and one walk while striking out four.
Trailing 6-2 entering the ninth inning, the Cavaliers loaded the bases with none out when reliever Nico Spezial walked the bases loaded. Jared King hit a sacrifice fly to deep right against Kaden to bring in Reed Gragnani and cut the lead to 6-3.
The Cavaliers again loaded the bases on a McCarthy infield single, but Kaden got the second out by inducing Downes to pop up. In a quick 0-2 hole, Papi fouled off a pair of pitches before cranking the next offering over the right-center field wall for a grand slam to give UVa the 7-6 advantage. It marked his third home run of the year and his second game-winner; he also hit the go-ahead solo home run in the 11th inning at Clemson on March 15.
Crockett then needed just 13 pitches to strike out the side in the bottom of the ninth.
Virginia improves to 28-3 on the season and 10-3 in the ACC. Game two of the series is slated for 1 p.m. Sunday, while the finale is set for 7 p.m. Monday and will be televised by ESPNU.
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