Baseball defeats fifth ranked Virginia 2-1

Tech defeated fifth ranked Virginia on Friday night 2-1 and now trails the Cavaliers by only two games in the Coastal Division standings. Tech improves to 25-9 (10-6 ACC) with the win, while Virginia falls to 30-5 (12-4 ACC).

After picking up his first loss of the season last Friday in a 2-0 loss to Duke, senior pitcher Buck Farmer threw a complete game giving up only one run while striking out ten batters and walking only one. Brandon Waddell picked up the loss for Virginia and is now 2-1.

“It seems like every time we play these guys it’s a one or two run game so I knew it was going to be a battle. Both sides pitched very well. Buck had an outstanding game, thought we had some pretty good plays behind him, and then we got a big two out hit by Zane Evans to give us the lead,” coach Danny Hall said.

Junior outfielder Kyle Wren continued to stay hot at the plate finishing 2-3 with a walk and two runs and junior catcher Zane Evans went 2-4 with an RBI.

In the top first, after leadoff hitter Branden Cogswell grounded out to short on the first pitch of the game, first baseman Jared King doubled to left field. Buck Farmer would strike out the next two Cavaliers to get out of the inning and keep the game scoreless.

Kyle Wren would leadoff Tech’s half of the first with a scorching line drive triple to right-center field. Wren scored on a sacrifice fly by senior third baseman Sam Dove to give Tech an early 1-0 lead.

Virginia would tie it up in the top of the third when Reed Gragnani led off the inning with a double, would advance to third after the ball got away from Tech catcher Zane Evans, and would then score on a Branden Cogswell groundout to second.

It remained tied at 1-1 until the bottom of the sixth. Kyle Wren led off the inning with a leadoff bunt single. Wren advanced to second after a Dove sacrifice bunt, and then scored on a Zane Evans two out single up the middle to give the Jackets a 2-1 lead. After the Evans single, Daniel Palka would hit what appeared to be a routine grounder to second base, but Virginia second baseman Reed Gragnani made a bad throw that first baseman Jared King was unable to hold on to. Palka was originally called out on the play, but after a meeting by the umpires they would change the call and Palka would safely be on first.

Virginia would bring in relief pitcher Andrew Young to face Tech freshman second baseman Matt Gonzalez with two outs and two on. Young would get Gonzalez swinging on a 3-2 fastball to end the inning and hold the Tech lead to just one run.

The Cavaliers would threaten in the top of the seventh when leadoff batter Derek Fisher singled and stole second. Farmer then got his eighth strike out of the night when he got Brandon Downes swinging for the first out of the inning. Fisher would attempt to score on a Nick Howard single to left field, but Kyle Wren would throw him out at the plate for the second out of the inning. Farmer would get Reed Gragnani to pop out to third to end the top of the seventh.

A.J. Murray led off Tech’s half of the seventh with a single, followed by a Mott Hyde strikeout, and then Thomas Smith reached on a fielding error by Virginia pitcher Andrew Young. Virginia would bring in lefty Nathan Kirby to replace Young, who walked Kyle Wren to load the bases with one out. Kirby was able to get Dove to strikeout swinging, then Brandon Thomas flew out to center field to end Tech’s threat.

After a scoreless eighth, Farmer would come in to finish the job in the ninth. Joe McCarthy led off the inning with a single for the Cavaliers, but Farmer got Mike Papi to ground in to a double play. Derek Fisher would single, but the game would end when Kenny Towns grounded out to third.

Tech will be back at on Saturday for the second of a three game series. First pitch is scheduled for 1 pm.