Hultzen, UVa shut out No. 4 Clemson
Staff ace helps Cavs to fifth shutout in last eight games
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Sixth-ranked Virginia opened ACC play with a 5-0 shutout of No. 4 Clemson on Friday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Cavaliers (14-1, 1-0 ACC) received another stellar start from staff ace Danny Hultzen in recording their fifth shutout in the last eight games and pushing their winning streak to eight.
Facing a Clemson offense which entered the game with an ACC-leading .343 batting average, Hultzen worked 6.2 innings, giving up just five hits and three walks while striking out 14, one off his career high set two weeks ago against East Carolina. He fanned at least two batters in six of the seven innings in which he pitched. At the plate, Hultzen went 1 for 2 and knocked in a pair of runs.
Hultzen (4-0) now has 50 strikeouts and just four walks in 27.1 innings this season. He lowered his 2011 ERA to 0.66.
Justin Thompson closed the game by working 2.1 innings while striking out four. The two UVa pitchers combined to strike out 18 batters, marking a season high for the UVa pitching staff. It also marked the first time Clemson has been shut out in 148 games, dating to May 22, 2008 against NC State in the ACC Tournament.
Clemson starter Scott Weismann (2-2) pitched 6.2 innings, allowing five runs (three earned), eight hits and two walks while striking out three in taking the loss. Jeff Schaus posted two hits for Clemson (7-4), which put up five hits in the contest.
John Hicks, Chris Taylor and Kenny Swab each recorded two hits for Virginia, which finished with 10 hits as a team.
Hultzen escaped jams in each of the first three innings, stranding two runners in each instance. After recording a 1-2-3 fourth inning, Hultzen issued back-to-back walks with two out in the fifth inning, marking his first walks in 21.2 innings, dating to the fourth inning of the season opener vs. UAB.
Virginia started its scoring by parlaying a leadoff double by John Barr into a third-inning run. One out later Taylor coaxed a walk, and with two out Hicks ripped a single back up the middle to easily plate Barr and give UVa a 1-0 lead.
The Cavaliers tacked on a run in the sixth inning. Hicks led off with a high bloop down the right-field line which dropped between three Tigers. Hicks was hustling all the way and slid in to second, and the throw to second from second baseman Jason Stolz was errant and rolled all the way into foul territory, allowing Hicks to move to third. Hultzen slapped the next pitch to left field for a sacrifice fly.
Virginia opened a 5-0 lead during a three-run seventh inning. David Coleman struck out to lead off but reached on a wild pitch on strike three. He moved up on Barr sacrifice bunt and then advanced to third on a Reed Gragnani groundout. Taylor followed with a single to center to plate Coleman and moved up on a single by Keith Werman. Taylor scored from second when shortstop Brad Miller booted a Hicks grounder, and Werman came home when Hultzen singled to center.