CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Josh Sborz tossed five shutout innings, while a trio of Cavaliers collected multiple hits helping top-ranked Virginia (5-1) to a 4-0 non-conference series win over East Carolina (3-3) Saturday afternoon at Davenport Field.
Sborz, who improved to 2-0 on the young season, fanned six Pirates, walked three and scattered three hits in five full frames before passing the ball off to his bullpen. David Rosenberger followed with two shutout innings with four punch-outs and Connor Jones closed the game with another two scoreless innings.
Junior Reid Love (0-1) suffered the loss in his first start for ECU. The right-hander worked four frames allowing three hits (two earned) on five hits with four strikeouts and three walks. Senior Brett Mabry (1.1 IP) surrendered a run on four hits, while sophomore Nick Durazo gave up one hit and issued a free pass in 2.2 innings.
Virginia broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third scoring a pair of runs with the bases loaded for a 2-0 lead. With Mike Papi (first base), Joe McCarthy (second) and Brandon Downs (third) occupying the base paths, Derek Fisher singled through the left side pushing across Papi for the games first run. Nick Howard followed with a sac fly to center scoring McCarthy and Love got out of the potential devastating inning by getting Kevin Towns to pop out to senior Zach Houchins in foul territory to end the stanza.
Papi extended the Cavaliers lead to 3-0 in the fourth with a two-out double to left center that scored Daniel Pinero, who reached on a fielding error by senior Drew Reynolds at second.
ECU had a chance to scratch across a run in the top half of the fifth with two runners on and two outs. Freshman Kirk Morgan walked and sophomore Garrett Brooks singled through the right side putting runners on first and second, but Sborz got Reynolds swinging to end the potential threat and frame.
The Cavaliers plated their final run of the contest in the sixth on McCarthy’s bases loaded single down the right field line pushing across Pinero for a 4-0 advantage. Pinero (single) and Branden Cogswell (double) laced back-to-back one-out base hits to right center and Papi loaded the bases with his second walk of the afternoon setting up McCarthy’s RBI base knock.
In the seventh ECU once again had Morgan on second and Brooks on first with two outs, but Reynolds was unsuccessful in driving them in going down swinging on a Rosenberger off-speed pitch.
The Pirates last chance to scratch a run across came in the ninth when senior Dylan Brown laced a pinch-hit single up the middle. Freshman Bryce Harman followed with an infield single, but was forced out at second on Morgan’s at-bat, which put runners on the corners. Brooks stepped to the box with two outs, but lifted a fly ball to left field ending the game.
In all, ECU recorded seven hits and left 10 runners on base. Sophomore Luke Lowery collected a pair of the Pirates base knocks, while Brooks, Brown, Harman, Houchins and Morgan each added one. Houchins extended his current hitting streak to nine games with a double in the first, which also extended his current streak of reaching base safely to 24 games.
Fisher, McCarthy and Papi each posted a pair of hits and drove in a run for Virginia, who tallied 10 hits on the afternoon.
ECU will look to pick up one game in the series when it takes the field for the third and final game of the series against Virginia on Sunday, Feb. 23. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. (EST).