McCarthy's two homers, Howard's 7.1 frames lift UVa. to sweep of Wake Forest
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Joe McCarthy homered twice as part of a four-hit day and Nick Howard did not allow an earned run in 7.1 innings as fourth-ranked Virginia recorded a 9-7 win against Wake Forest on Monday. The Cavaliers (30-3, 12-3 ACC) finished off a three-game series sweep and have won 11 consecutive games against Wake Forest (17-17, 4-11), dating to 2008.
McCarthy went 4-for-6 and drove in four runs while notching his first multi-home run game. Branden Cogswell, Derek Fisher and Mike Papi each had two hits for the Cavaliers, who finished with 14 hits.
Howard (4-2) had one of the best starts of his young career, going a career-best 7.1 innings and allowing three unearned runs, three hits and two walks while striking out six. He retired 13 consecutive batters from the first through fifth innings and owned a no-hitter through 5.1 innings.
Kyle Crockett recorded the final two outs of the ninth inning to claim his seventh save, including his fifth in a row in Virginia's past five games.
For the third game this series, Virginia scored in the opening inning. Cogswell drew a leadoff walk and Jared King was hit by a pitch. After a pair of UVa strikeouts, Papi lined a double down the right field line to plate Cogswell.
The Cavaliers added a run in the fifth inning when McCarthy launched a solo home run to left center field.
Virginia brought its third run across in the sixth inning. Fisher led off with a single and advanced on a Reed Gragnani sacrifice bunt. Nate Irving drew a walk, and Fisher moved to third when catcher Charlie Morgan committed a passed ball on ball four. Cogswell laid down a squeeze bunt, with Fisher sliding in safely to give the Cavaliers a 3-0 edge.
After failing to register a hit against Howard in the first five innings, Wake Forest tied the game with three runs in the sixth while taking advantage of sloppy defense. Andrew Williams drew a leadoff walk and one out later Evan Stephens singled to center. Conor Keniry hit a grounder deep in the hole between first and second that Gragnani fielded, but his throw to a covering Howard was errant, allowing Williams to score and the runners to advance to second and third. Pat Blair grounded out to score a run and Morgan tripled off the glove of a diving Brandon Downes in left-center to tie the game.
Virginia used clutch hitting in the eighth inning to score three times and grab the lead 6-3. Irving hit a leadoff single and advanced on a Cogswell sacrifice. After King struck out swinging, McCarthy legged out an infield single. Downes then doubled to left field on a 3-2 pitch. Irving scored on the play and, when left fielder Kevin Jordan bobbled the ball, McCarthy also came home. Papi then beat out an infield single and Downes hustled around from second base to score.
The Cavaliers doubled their lead in the ninth inning on a three-run home run to right-center field from McCarthy.
Wake Forest made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth, scoring four times and bringing the tying run to the plate before Crockett closed the game. Morgan hit a leadoff single off UVa reliever Nathan Kirby, moved to third on a Conway double and scored on a wild pitch. One out later, Jack Carey reached on a Cogswell throwing error, with Conway scoring on the play. Austin Young came on in relief and gave up a two-run home run to Brett Armour on his first pitch to cut the lead to 9-7. Young then hit Mark Rhine with a pitch. Crockett entered the game and got Stephens to ground into a fielder's choice and Jimmy Redovian to strike out to end the game.