Their first trip to Pitt will be a game nobody on the 2014 Virginia Cavaliers baseball team will ever forget. The offense strung together enough hits and Nathan Kirby gave the most dominant performance the ACC has seen this year.
Over 9 innings, Kirby struck out a career high 18 while only issuing a single walk. That walk and an error from John LaPrise in the first inning were the only baserunners the Panthers would have all game.
The career high 18 strikeouts from Kirby fell one shy of tying to the UVa and ACC single game record held by Harry Thomas (UVa), Shawn Senior (NCSU), and Roger Williams (UNC). So good job, Nathan, but maybe be a little bit better next time?
The win ran Kirby's record to 6-1 which ties him for the lead in the ACC. He also improved his ERA to 1.03 (3rd), opposing average to .146 (2nd), batters struck out 55 (2nd), and earned runs allowed to 6 (3rd). Quite a long way from the kid who only appeared in 24 games and had a 6.06 ERA in 2013.
Kirby was dominant, but he couldn't have won if the offense did not score some runs for him. Joe McCarthy, Brandon Downes, and John La Prise all had multi-hit games, but the main reason the Hoos scored the runs were the three errors Pitt had. UVa scored four runs and Brandon Downes was the only Cavalier to get an RBI from the game.
In all, the offense did score four runs on nine hits, but the left on base problem was in the background again. Thank God for Nathan Kirby because the offense ended up leaving 14 men on base. They won the game, and did all that was necessary for that, but a W might not come so easily against the better teams they'll play over the coming weeks and months.
The two teams will square off again this afternoon. The Cavaliers will try and win their 8th straight series win of the season.