The #6 Virginia Cavaliers scored three unearned runs in the eighth inning thanks in part to three costly Tiger errors and John Barr hit a two-out, run-scoring single in the ninth inning to give the Cavaliers an 8-7 victory over #4 Clemson in front of 5,374 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Cavaliers, who took a 2-0 series lead and won their ninth game in a row, improved to 15-1 overall and 2-0 in the ACC. The Tigers fell to 7-5 overall and 0-2 in ACC play.
The Cavaliers scored three runs in the fourth inning to take a 4-1 lead. But Clemson rallied with two runs in the sixth inning and four runs in the seventh inning to take a 7-4 lead. But the Tigers committed four errors in the final two innings and Virginia pulled out the one-run win.
Whit Mayberry (3-0), the third of four Cavalier pitchers, earned the win. In 2.0 innings pitched, he allowed two hits, one run, and one walk with two strikeouts. Branden Kline pitched a scoreless ninth inning with two strikeouts to record his sixth save of the season. The seven runs surrendered by Cavalier pitchers were the most in 2011, as it was the first time Virginia gave up more than four runs in a game this season.
Alex Frederick (0-2), the last of three Tiger hurlers, suffered the loss. He yielded two hits, one run, and one walk with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings pitched. Scott Firth pitched 3.1 solid innings out of the bullpen, allowing three hits, no earned runs, and no walks with one strikeout.
The Cavaliers grabbed the game’s first lead in the top of the first inning. Barr grounded a one-out double down the third-base line on a 1-2 pitch after fouling off three two-strike pitches. Two batters later, Ryan Levine laced a two-out single through the left side to score Barr.
In the bottom of the first inning, Brad Miller grounded a one-out single up the middle and went to third on a throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt. Miller then scored on Jeff Schaus’ single over the first-base bag.
Virginia regained the lead in the fourth inning. John Hicks led off with a single to left-center and went to second two batters later on Steven Proscia’s single to left field. Kenny Swab grounded a single through the left side to score Hicks, then Reed Gragnani doubled to right field to score Proscia and Swab.
In the sixth inning, Miller hit a one-out single through the left side. Two batters later with two outs, Richie Shaffer lined a two-run homer to left field, his third long ball of the year, to cut Virginia’s lead to 4-3.
In the seventh inning, Will Lamb, a native of Seaford, VA, led off with a single down the left-field line and Spencer Kieboom followed with a walk. Addison Johnson laid down a sacrifice bunt on an 0-2 pitch and reached when the throw from Hicks was errant. Lamb also came around to score on the error to tie the score. Jason Stolz’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners up a base, then Chris Epps bounced a single up the middle to score Kieboom and Johnson to give the Tigers the lead. Two batters later, Schaus belted a two-out double to left-center to score Epps.
In the eighth inning, the Tigers committed three costly errors that allowed Virginia to tie the score. Chris Taylor reached on a one-out, infield single. Barr followed with another infield single, then Hicks hit a potential inning-ending, double-play grounder to John Hinson. But the Tiger third-baseman booted the ball to load the bases. Levine then ripped a single to left field to score Taylor. Defense failed the Tigers again when Proscia hit another potential inning-ending, double-play grounder to Miller. But the Tiger shortstop was unable to field the ball. He picked up the ball and threw wild to second, allowing Hicks to score the tying run after Barr scored. But with Cavaliers on second and third, Frederick retired the next two batters to keep the score tied.
Pinch-hitter Danny Hultzen led off with a walk in the ninth inning after being down in the count 0-2. Keith Werman followed with a single on a hit-and-run. Two batters later, Barr reached on a fielder’s choice to third base as Hultzen was retired at third base for out #2. But Barr came through with a single through the right side to score Werman, giving Virginia an 8-7 lead.
Barr, Hicks, and Levine had two hits apiece to lead Virginia, who outhit the Tigers 11-10.
Miller went 3-for-5 with two runs, while Schaus went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs to lead Clemson.
Clemson and Virginia will play the series-finale on Sunday at 1:00 PM.