Around the Bases
Cavaliers beat weather,
Tar Heels for six-inning win
By Phil Stanton
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – North Carolina and
Virginia had to feel like they were fighting the elements as
well as each other.
The Cavaliers (14-13, 34-17) won the three-way
battle with a 5-4 six-inning victory over the second-ranked Tar
Heels (20-6, 42-9) Sunday afternoon at Davenport Field to
salvage the finale of their three-game ACC series.
With severe weather nearing, the sixth inning had
the feel of the ninth as North Carolina trailed 3-2. After
taking a close 1-2 pitch, Kyle Seager doubled down the right
field line to start the inning and moved to third on a
groundout. After taking a close 2-2 pitch, pinch-hitter Ryan
Graepel had a base hit to left to knot the score at 3-3. With
two outs, Garrett Gore doubled to left to score Graepel and give
the Tar Heels a 4-3 advantage.
Cavaliers headed to the bottom of the sixth knowing that if the
inning would not be completed, they would have a 3-2 victory.
North Carolina wanted a quick bottom of the sixth for a 4-3 win.
Cannon led off with a base hit. Lefty Brian Moran entered
quickly to pitch for the Heels. Greg Miclat hit a ball deep in
the hole at short for an infield single to advance Cannon to
second. Patrick Wingfield moved the runners along with a
sacrifice bunt and David Adams was intentionally walked to load
the bases. Dan Grovatt struck out for the second out. Jeremy
Farrell (pictured) fell behind 1-2 and took two close pitches
that were called balls. On the 3-2 pitch, Farrell dumped a ball
into shallow right, driving in two to give the Cavs a 5-4 lead.
“I wanted to put a good swing on the ball,” said
Farrell, a former CBI journalist. “With guys on base, I’m
looking to drive them in. I didn’t do so the past two nights,
but was able to do so there.”
Moran shared his displeasure with home plate
umpire Frank Sylvester and was ejected. Catcher Tim Federowicz
moved to the mound and got Phil Gosselin to ground out to end
the inning. The tarp was pulled, followed by lightning and heavy
rain. The game was called after more than an hour delay.
“It’s a nice win,” said Virginia head coach Brian
O’Connor. “North Carolina is one of the best teams in the
country. You don’t enjoy winning a game like this. I would be
very upset if I was North Carolina, to not be able to play a
complete ballgame. We’ve lost games like this before that have
been rained shortened. It’s part of the game, but it’s very,
very frustrating when it happens. I would just as soon play nine
innings and win the game out on the field, but you can’t do
anything about the weather.”
UNC got on the board in the third as Dustin
Ackley ripped a one-out double into the left field corner and
scored as Kyle Shelton lined the next pitch into left center to
make it 1-0.
Virginia broke through in the bottom of the
fourth. Gosselin reached on an infield single but was erased on
a steal attempt. Franco Valdes drew a walk, John Barr singled
and Tyler Cannon walked to load the bases. Miclat hit a grounder
to second. Seager tried a backhand flip to second base that
eluded Gore, allowing a pair to score. Wingfield’s bunt single
plated Cannon to make it 3-1.
Ackley walked and scored on a sacrifice fly in
the top of the fifth to pull UNC to within one at 3-2.
Virginia notched its first win against a ranked
team after dropping nine, including three to Miami and Florida
State, two to North Carolina and one to Coastal Carolina.
“I felt it would have been really big for our
team to win the series,” O’Connor said, “but to win one game is
big for us. We haven’t beaten a team of the caliber of North
Carolina this whole year and it was important for us to find a
way to win a ballgame and we did. You would have liked to have
won it in a complete game fashion.”
The players knew it was an important win as well.
“You don’t want to get swept,” Farrell said, “and
you especially don’t want to get swept at home. They’re one of
the top teams in the nation and it’s definitely a good win for