Feb. 19, 2010

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CBI Live
Proscia Propels Cavs past Pirates in Season Opener

By Michael Perry


(photos by Ian Rogol/TheSabre.com)


GREENVILLE, N.C. – Starting off on the right foot, University of Virginia third baseman Steven Proscia (right) guided his team to a season-opening 6-2 victory over No. 17 East Carolina with an aggressive hitting performance, and better yet it was on the road on Friday afternoon in front of 5,012 fans at Clark-LeClair Stadium


The first win of many to come, Proscia went 2 for 3 with four RBI, including airmailing a 2-0 breaking ball over the wall in left center for a two-run homer that gave the third-ranked Cavaliers a 4-2 lead in the sixth.


“Once I worked the count to 2-0, I was looking for something off speed.” Proscia said of his sixth-inning blast. “I got a nice breaking ball to hit. I was just looking to drive something to the outfield to score the run and put us ahead but I was fortunate enough to hit it out.”


The junior cleanup hitter put the Cavs on the board with a sacrifice fly to deep right that scored pitcher Danny Hultzen in the top of the fourth.


Continuing a seventh-inning two-out rally, Proscia followed up an RBI double by David Grovatt with his own run-scoring base hit to put UVa up 6-2.


The Pirates were awarded two game-opening runs in the bottom of the first with a bases loaded walk forced by Austin Homan and a fielder’s choice to first by Jared Avchen.


After the early flaws Virginia regained its composure, controlling the rest of the game with six unanswered runs and a solid defensive stance.


Sophomore left-handed starter Hultzen (right) pitched six innings for the Cavs, recording four strikeouts and closing the door on ECU’s early production. Despite picking up his first win of the season it was not even his best stuff, according to UVa head coach Brian O’Connor.


“Danny Hultzen is who he is because he’s a grinder,” O’Connor said. “He grinded it out in the middle innings and got us to the seventh inning and that’s what a starter needs to do.”


Following the seventh-inning stretch, Tyler Wilson entered in relief for Virginia. Wilson picked up four strikeouts and only gave up two hits in the closing innings to the deflated ECU hitting.


In the bottom of the ninth Wilson stifled the last gasp for a possible comeback by the Pirates as he worked designated hitter Kyle Roller into a game-ending double play with two men on.


Between the two Cavalier hurlers, they stranded 10 Pirates.


“I think you got credit their lefty,” ECU head coach Billy Godwin said of Hultzen. “He settled in very well, but an elite level guy is going to do that.”


Taking the first tilt on the road is always crucial and especially with the abundance of talent on both rosters, Proscia commented on the overall importance of the 6-2 win.


“It was a great game today, we went down to the wire,” Proscia said. “To get the first game of a three-game series is very important. We have a chance tomorrow to win the series and if that happens I’ll look forward to game three.”


The two teams will take the field for the second act of the three-game weekend series Saturday at 2 p.m. with ECU southpaw Kevin Brandt squaring off with Cavs junior right-hander Robert Morey.