CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — John Barr hit a two-out RBI double to score the go-ahead run in the eighth inning as No. 10 Virginia picked up a 4-3 victory against VMI in its 2011 home opener.
While the game was played on a chilly, cloudy afternoon, the game drew 2,175 fans – by far the most spectators for a Virginia baseball home opener. The previous high was 1,567 last season.
Virginia’s offense was silenced for most of the day by VMI starting pitcher Coby Cowgill – the Cavaliers managed just three hits off him and six total. UVa scored the game’s final three runs in the seventh and eighth innings to rally for the win.
UVa’s bullpen of Whit Mayberry and Branden Kline tossed 3.2 scoreless innings in relief of starting pitcher Will Roberts, who worked 5.1 innings, allowing three earned runs, eight hits and one walk while striking out four. Mayberry (1-0) earned the win with 2.2 scoreless innings, while Kline pitched a perfect ninth inning to claim his first save of 2011.
Cowgill kept the Cavaliers off balance throughout his 6.1-inning stint. He gave up just three hits and three walks while fanning six. Michael Devine (0-1) took the loss after allowing a run and two hits in two-thirds of an inning.
Barr had two of UVa’s hits and went 2-for-4. Alex Haitsuka went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a home run for VMI (1-4), which finished with 11 hits.
VMI scored a run in the first inning and led the majority of the game. Sam Roberts, a cousin to Will Roberts, led off with a single to right-center. He advanced on a groundout and moved up on a flyout before Chase Worthington singled him in for the game’s first run
The Keydets added a run in the fourth when Haitsuka hit Roberts’ first offering into the left-field bleachers for his first home run of the year. UVa countered in the bottom of the inning when Steven Proscia led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a John Hicks groundout.
UVa had a golden opportunity in the fifth inning, loading the bases with one out, but Cowgill made a clutch pitch and induced Keith Werman to ground back to the mound and start a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.
VMI added a run in the sixth inning. With one out Sam Roberts and George Piccirilli hit back-to-back singles, forcing Will Roberts from the game as UVa brought Mayberry onto the mound. After Jacob Morley was retired on a flyout, Berkley Hawkins blooped a single into center to score Roberts and push the lead back to two, 3-1.
UVa began its comeback in the seventh inning when Kenny Swab drew a one-out walk. He moved to second on a groundout and scored when Chris Taylor lined a double down the left-field line.
Proscia then led off the eighth with a walk. Danny Hultzen laid down a sacrifice bunt and one out later Stephen Bruno ripped a single to left to score Proscia. Barr then hit the next pitch into right-center for a double to give UVa its first lead, 4-3.