HARRISONBURG, Va., March 6, 2012 - Virginia sent nine batters to the plate in consecutive innings in the sixth and seventh, turning a 6-5 deficit into a 13-6 advantage en route to a 14-6 victory over James Madison on Tuesday afternoon at Eagle Field at Veterans Memorial Park.
UVA, ranked 27th by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA), improved to 7-4-1 after dropping three of its previous four games. JMU saw a three-game winning streak end, falling to 5-6-1.
The Cavaliers took advantage of three early JMU errors to grab a 3-0 lead through three innings. The Dukes then took advantage of free bases from Virginia to plate six runs in the fourth to take the lead. However, the Cavs maintained offensive pressure, scoring two in the fifth to pull within a run before breaking through with back-to-back four-run innings batting around the order in the sixth and seventh.
Seven different members of the starting lineup posted multiple hits in Virginia's 17-hit attack. Right fielder Mike Papi and first baseman Jared King each posted three hits with two RBIs. Center fielder Brandon Downes drove in four runs with a pair of hits, including a triple. Shortstop Chris Taylor tripled and homered. Third baseman Stephen Bruno singled, doubled, was hit by a pitch twice and scored four runs. Left fielder Colin Harrington had two singles, a walk, a hit by pitch, a sacrifice fly, two RBIs and two runs scored.
After JMU's six-run fourth, Austin Young shut down the Dukes the next three innings with no hits and four strikeouts to earn the win in relief. He was one of five Virginia pitchers that teamed to limit JMU to four hits in the game.
Freshman Cody Miller (Westlake, Ohio/Padua Franciscan) took the loss for JMU, entering in the sixth with a 6-5 lead and allowing four runs. Freshman left-hander Aaron Hoover (Centreville, Va./Westfield) started and allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits in four innings.
Four Dukes had one hit apiece, including two-run singles by freshman shortstop Chad Carroll (Oakton, Va./Oakton) and redshirt freshman first baseman Ryan Kilmon (Virginia Beach, Va./Kellam) along with a two-run double by senior pinch hitter Evan Scott (Haymarket, Va./Battlefield).
Things started inauspiciously for the Dukes as back-to-back errors on the first two batters of the game led to an early run for the Cavaliers. Virginia continued to string together three more singles, the last by King being a potential double play to shortstop, but the hard-hit ball took a high bounce off the turf and into center field to score the second UVA run.
In the third, King tripled with one out when a diving attempt by senior right fielder Ian Haynes (Danville, Va./Tunstall) came up empty. With the infield playing in, a sharp ground ball was shared by a diving Carroll at shortstop, but he was unable to make the throw home as Virginia went up 3-0.
UVA starter Artie Lewicki was cruising allowing just one hit until the bottom of the fourth. With two outs in the inning, junior catcher Bradley Shaban (Midlothian, Va./Cosby) got things started with a walk on an 11-pitch at bat. Sophomore third baseman Conner Brown (Richmond, Va./Godwin) and junior left fielder Colby Roberts (Benton, Ark./Benton) added consecutive walks to load the bases. Carroll then chopped a grounder to first with his slide narrowly beating the pitcher covering the bag as two runs came around to score, cutting the deficit to 3-2. After another walk, Kilmon rocketed a single up the middle to score two and take the lead. Scott then entered as a pinch hitter and doubled to center field to make it a six-run inning.
Virginia answered quickly with a leadoff double in the fifth by Bruno. He moved to third on a groundout and scored on a two-out triple by Downes. Designated hitter Derek Fisher added an RBI single up the middle on the next pitch to make it 6-5.
The Cavaliers regained the lead in the sixth as second baseman Keith Werman walked and moved to second on a groundout. A single by Harrington put runners on the corners and a wild pitch brought in Werman to tie the score at 6-6. After a hit batter, Papi singled through the right side to give the Cavs a 7-6 lead. A hit batter loaded the bases and chased Miller, who started the inning, from the game in favor of sophomore Trent Cundiff (Roanoke, Va./Northside). Downes greeted him with a single through the left side to score two and make it 9-6.
Chris Taylor added a run in the seventh as he socked a one-out solo home run to left field. Virginia kept the inning going as consecutive hit batters were followed by an RBI single by Papi, a wild pitch and another RBI single by King to make it 13-6. A single by Fisher chased Cundiff and made it back-to-back innings for Virginia to bat around.
The Cavs tacked on a final run in the eighth as Taylor tripled with one out and scored on Harrington's sacrifice fly to center field to make it 14-6.
JMU is home again on Wednesday at 4 p.m. to close a 10-game home stretch against Mount St. Mary's
NOTES: Carroll was honored hours before the game as the CAA Co-Rookie of the Week after batting .545 (6-for-11) in a series sweep of Lafayette over the weekend, including delivered the game-winning single as JMU rallied from a 9-8 deficit in the ninth inning... Virginia improved to 36-24-1 in the head-to-head series... the teams also played to a 4-4 tie early in the season on Feb. 18... Brown had an eight-game hitting streak snapped after going 0-for-3 with a walk... JMU pitchers hit six Virginia batters in the game.