CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia catcher John Hicks broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the 11th inning, driving in the game-winning run on an RBI single up the middle to give the top-ranked Cavaliers a 3-2 win over Duke on Sunday afternoon at Davenport Field.
The game was the first of a double header. Game two is currently underway, and fans can watch the live video broadcast by clicking here.
Virginia (35-3, 15-2 ACC) led 2-0 until the top of the eighth inning when freshman Mark Tatera delivered a pinch-hit, two-run double to tie the score at 2-2. The two-out, two-run double came off of Virginia closer Branden Kline, who would rebound from giving up the two-base knock to hold Duke scoreless over the remainder of the game.
Tatera’s double would be the last run Duke scored, as Kline surrendered just one more his over his last three innings. The sophomore right-hander struck out six batters and issued just one walk, which was an intentional free pass to Duke leadoff batter Jeff Kremer. Kline’s bullpen performance followed a solid start from Tyler Wilson, who retired the first 16 batters he faced, held a one-hitter into the eighth inning and totaled 10 strikeouts without allowing a walk.
The game was a true pitcher’s duel, as Wilson and Duke starter Dennis O'Grady battled through the first seven frames before the relief counterparts of Kline and Marcus Stroman squared off late in the game. O’Grady gave up just two runs on six hits and a walk through seven frames before Stroman took over in the eighth and held the Cavaliers scoreless until Hicks’ walk-off single in the 11th. Stroman struck out five batters and was one pitch away from escaping the 11th-inning jam before Hicks laced his full-count base hit back up the middle for the win.
The Cavaliers got on the board first, scoring on an RBI single from right fielder David Coleman in the bottom of the second to take a 1-0 lead.
Virginia threatened to add to its lead in the bottom half of the fourth. With Cavalier runners on second and third and only one out, O’Grady struck out first baseman Jared King swinging for the second out of the frame. Coleman then sent a hard-hit drive to deep right center, but Blue Devil right fielder Joe Pedevillano made a great running catch to end the inning.
Third baseman Steven Proscia turned on a 3-2 offering from O’Grady in the bottom of the sixth, sending a solo homer over the left field wall to give the Cavaliers a 2-0 lead.
Duke first baseman Chris Marconcini was hit by a pitch to begin the top of the eighth inning. Three batters later, designated hitter David Perkins doubled to center, giving the Blue Devils a pair of runners in scoring position and chasing Virginia starter Tyler Wilson from the game. Tatera then came in to pinch hit and delivered a two-run double to left center to tie the game at 2-2.
Stroman then came on in relief of O’Grady in the bottom half of the eighth. After hitting the first two batters he faced and walking the third to load the bases, Stroman struck out designated hitter Danny Hultzen and King swinging for the first two outs of the frame. Coleman then bunted the first pitch he saw back to Stroman, who threw the runner out at first to escape the inning without giving up a run.
Stroman would foil two more scoring opportunities in the ninth and tenth, stranding runners in scoring position during both frames, but the Cavaliers finally came through in the 11th on Hicks’ game-winning single.