Virginia survives scare, holds onto top spot in polls

By Matt Lopes

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Courtesy Virginia Media Relations

Courtesy Virginia Media Relations

The Virginia baseball team saw its seven-game winning streak vanish after the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader with North Carolina State, but the Cavaliers fought back at home this past weekend to take the series from the Wolfpack, keeping a firm grasp on their No. 1 ranking.


After allowing a pair of runs in the first inning of the Game 1, NC State pitcher Rob Chamra retired 17 of the next 21 batters he faced, out-dueling Virginia’s ace Danny Hultzen to improve his record to 6-0.

Meanwhile, after a solid start from Hultzen in early going, the Wolfpack offense roughed up one of the top pitchers in college baseball in the sixth inning, scoring all six of their runs to knock off the Cavaliers, 6-2. It was the third loss of Hultzen’s career, as the junior lefthander entered the game with an 8-0 record on the season, as well as a 1.17 ERA and an ACC-leading 99 strikeouts.

Virginia would not go quietly in the second half of the doubleheader, as they jumped out to an early 2-0 lead courtesy of an RBI single from Keith Werman in the second inning and an RBI triple from John Hicks in the third. Cavalier’s pitcher Tyler Wilson took over from there, allowing one run on six hits through 6.1 innings to go along with seven strikeouts en route to a 3-1 victory.

The momentum carried over into Sunday for UVA (40-4, 18-3 ACC) as the No. 1 Cavaliers sealed their NCAA-leading 40th win of the season following the 7-6 victory over the Wolfpack. The Cavs’ offense erupted for 12 hits while stealing six bases to jump out to an early 5-0 lead. NC State (24-18, 9-12 ACC) made it interesting in the eighth inning, as they rallied to pull within one run until UVA closer Branden Kline shut the door in earning his ACC-best 13th save of the season.

Virginia hosts Virginia Commonwealth Tuesday night at 6 p.m., while the Wolfpack open a three-game series against ACC-rival Maryland on Friday.

Texas A&M sweeps OSU

After falling to No. 10 Texas Christian earlier last week, Texas A&M bounced back this weekend in dominating fashion, outscoring the Oklahome State a combined 24-4 in the weekend series.

The Aggies (29-11, 14-4 Big 12) began the onslaught on Friday with an 11-2 thrashing of the Cowboys (28-12, 10-8 Big 12), followed by 5-1 and 8-1 wins on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. As a result, Texas A&M moved from the ninth spot to 13, while the Cowboys rose to 22nd in the nation.

The Aggies continued their offensive success as they combined for 32 hits in the series. Kevin Gonzalez led the Aggies over the weekend, going 5-for-10 with four runs and five RBIs. The senior catcher also went yard in the final game of the series for his second home run of the season. Sophomore outfielder Tyler Naquin came up big as well, finishing the series 6-for-10 with five runs and four RBIs, while freshman centerfielder Krey Bratsen went 7-for-13 with four runs, two RBIs and three stolen bases.

Both teams are in action again Tuesday night as Texas A&M plays host to Sam Houston State, while Oklahoma State looks to rebound on the against Wichita State.

Tar Heels rally to avoid sweep

After dropping both games of a doubleheader on Saturday, 13-6 and 5-3, North Carolina fought back on Sunday behind the arm of freshmen southpaw Kent Emanuel to knock off Miami, 8-1.

Emanuel went the distance for his sixth win of the season to snap the Tar Heel’s five-game conference losing streak. Emanuel allowed just nine hits and one run while fanning four in the win.

North Carolina catcher Jacob Stallings recovered from a 0-for-5 start to finish the series 4-for-7 with a pair of runs scored and a pair of RBIs. Freshman infielder Colin Moran kept his hot bat alive as well, notching two more RBIs over the weekend to bring his total to 54 on the year, good for first in the ACC.

Despite the loss on Sunday, the Hurricanes jumped from No. 24 to 14th in the polls, but still trail No. 1 Virginia and No. 8 Georgia Tech by a few games in the ACC Coastal division. Meanwhile, after dropping the series in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels fell from No. 10 to No. 14 overall in the latest rankings.

Miami (27-13, 15-5 ACC) battles South Florida Wednesday night before hosting Florida State for a three-game series this weekend. North Carolina (32-10, 13-8) takes on East Carolina on Wednesday night a weekend off.

Matt Lopes can be reached at [email protected]