Baseball is all about superstition and in the last three weekend series, the Hoos have worn camouflage, and Connor Jones has delivered the pitching performance Virginia needed. However, tonight was not the dominant outing he put together against Miami and NC State. Tonight he showed that even without his best stuff, he could battle and get big outs when he needed them. His final line was once again stellar, 7.0 innings, five hits, one earned run, six walks, and eight strike outs, but it was the walks that gave him the most trouble. Four of his six walks were surrendered to the lead-off batter in the inning, which made the night much more stressful than it had to be. His defense backed him up though, coming up with two 4-6-3 double plays which stifled big innings before they could begin.
The Hoos got on the board first when Kenny Towns delivered a two-out base hit to score Adam Hasely in the first inning. Duke answered in the fourth, when after Jones surrendered a two-out walk to Mike Rosenfeld, Cris Perez ripped an RBI double down the left field line to knot the score at one.
The game remained tied at one as Jones and Blue Devil's ace Andrew Istler traded back and forth scoreless innings. That was until the bottom of the eighth, when Daniel Pinero reached on a Duke error and scored on Matt Thaiss' double down the first base line. Thaiss would score on a Pavin Smith RBI single to right to make the score 3-1.
That would be all the Hoos would need as Kevin Doherty pitched a scoreless eighth inning to get the win, while Alec Bettinger came on in the ninth to pick up the save.
Smith paced the Hoos at the plate going 2-4 with an RBI, while Towns reached base all four times he came to the plate with one hit, two walks, a hit by pitch, and an RBI.
With the win, Virginia moved into a tie for 10th place in the ACC with Wake Forest who dropped a game to NC State. That is a series Hoo fans will want to watch closely as both the Wolfpack and Demon Deacons are in a log jam competing for the final spots in the ACC tournament. The Hoos go for the series win tomorrow at 4 P.M. Brandon Waddell (2-4, 5.01 ERA) will be on the hill for Virginia facing the Blue Devil's Dillon Haviland (2-1, 3.41 ERA)