Downes Powers 'Hoos to Win in Home Opener

On a day when runs were tough to come by for top-ranked Virginia, Brandon Downes was able to power the Cavaliers to victory.

The junior outfielder hit a pair of solo homers -- one in the second inning, and one in the sixth -- to give UVa a 3-2 win over East Carolina in the Cavaliers' home opener Friday afternoon.

Downes was the only player in the UVa lineup to put up multiple hits against Pirates starter Jeff Hoffman, who took the loss after giving up all three UVa runs on five hits in 6.2 innings. Lefty Nathan Kirby -- making his first career Friday start for the Cavaliers -- improved to 2-0 after giving up two earned runs on four hits in 6.1 innings.

Whit Mayberry and Nick Howard combined to face the minimum over the game's final 2.2 innings to close out the win, with Howard picking up his first save after throwing a perfect ninth.

Mike Papi drove in UVa's other run with a third inning double to left-center that tied the game 2-2. The Pirates briefly took the lead in the top of the third when UVa second baseman Branded Cogswell lost a Zach Houchins pop-up in the sun, which allowed both ECU runs to score.

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