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Fifth-ranked Virginia bangs out a season-high 17 hits and squashes Virginia Tech in front of 3,142 fans at English Field.
MATT GENTRY| The Roanoke Times
Virginia’s Jared King slides into home plate defended by Virginia Tech catcher Mark Zagunis in the sixth inning Friday at English Field in Blacksburg. Zagunis mishandled the ball on the play and the score gave Virginia a 9-3 lead. King, a Pulaski graduate, had two doubles and two RBIs in the win.
MATT GENTRY| The Roanoke Times
Virginia’s Branden Cogswell tags out Tech’s Chad Pinder at second base. The Hokies wore purple for substance-abuse awareness.
Friday, April 26, 2013
BLACKSBURG — Virginia demonstrated Friday why it has one of the most potent lineups in college baseball.
Fifth-ranked Virginia banged out a season-high 17 hits and squashed Virginia Tech 15-6 in front of 3,142 fans at English Field.
“We just had a tremendous offensive day,” UVa coach Brian O’Connor said.
“We had a great approach, one through nine [in the batting order],” said Pulaski County graduate Jared King, who had three hits and two RBIs for UVa. “We’re very tough when we get to two strikes. We put balls in play — we like to put a lot of pressure on the defense. We just battle up there, one through nine.”
UVa (38-6, 17-5 ACC), which won its seventh straight game, ranks fourth nationally in runs.
“There’s a lot of athleticism in our batting order,” O’Connor said. “... There’s a lot of guys that can run, there’s guys that can hit the ball out of the ballpark.
“We’re capable on this team to score runs at anywhere in the lineup. Our lineup is not defined by three or four players.”
Reed Gragnani — the Cavs’ No. 8 hitter — had three hits, including a two-run homer, and four RBIs.
UVa was coming off a 16-8 rout of James Madison on Wednesday. This was the first time in four years that the Cavaliers have scored at least 15 runs in back-to-back games.
Tech (25-18, 9-13), which used five pitchers Friday, has lost eight of its past 10 ACC games.
The Hokies hurt themselves with three costly errors. Right fielder Andrew Rash committed two of them, although he also made a leaping catch to prevent a homer.
“In certain innings, we gave those guys more than three outs,” said Tech coach Pete Hughes, whose team leads the ACC in errors. “When you have a lineup that’s just sound 1-9 and you give them more than three outs, it’s going to present a lot of scoring opportunities.
“We’ve been in a rut defensively.”
The 15 runs were the second-highest total Tech has allowed this season. The Hokies lost 21-8 in the opener of their series with No. 1 North Carolina two weekends ago.
Tech starter Brad Markey (3-4) allowed nine runs (seven earned) and 11 hits in 5 2⁄3 innings.
For the fourth straight weekend, Tech lost the opener of a three-game series. Markey has started all four of those openers.
“We’ve got to get a better start on Friday,” Hughes said. “We didn’t get a quality start.
“We’re probably going to have to make some adjustments, I would think, for next weekend.”
Virginia jumped to a 4-1 lead in the second inning and led the rest of the way. UVa led 9-3 midway through the sixth.
The Hokies scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut the lead to 9-6, but UVa answered with six runs in the top of the seventh.
King scored two runs in the game and had two doubles. His sister and some of his old pals from high school were on hand to cheer him on.
This weekend will be the final time the senior will play in the New River Valley in his baseball career.
“I try not to think about it too much,” King said.
Brandon Downes had three hits, including a pair of doubles, and scored twice for UVa.
Tech became the first team in the nation this season to play three top-five teams. The Hokies won a series against then-No. 4 Florida State last month and were swept by UNC.
Sean Keselica had four hits and scored three runs for Tech.
Tech center fielder Gary Schneider was hurt diving for a ball in the sixth inning and left the game. He broke either his hand or his wrist, said Hughes.
The Hokies wore purple jerseys and hats for substance-abuse awareness.
The teams might play a doubleheader today out of concern that Sunday’s game could get rained out.
Virginia 041 013 600 — 15 17 1
Virginia Tech 102 003 000 — 6 10 3
Waddell, Mayberry (6) and Irving; Markey, Campbell (6), Joyce (7), Hodges (7), Kennedy (8) and Zagunis, Mogg (9). W— Waddell (4-1). L— Markey (3-4). HR— UVa: Gragnani (3).
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