After Virginia got quality pitching on Friday night, and the Tar Heels got a good outing on Saturday afternoon, it was the offenses' turn to shine on Sunday. The two teams combined for 27 hits and 24 runs on the afternoon. The bats did get some help though as the two teams' pitchers combined to issue 19 walks (13 earned by the Hoos). At the end of the day, it was Virginia who was able to come out on top 15-9 with Kevin Doherty David Rosenberger, and Tommy Doyle doing just enough to keep the Tar Heels at bay over the last 5.1 innings.
The game had all the makings of a barn burner from the beginning. North Carolina jumped on Virginia starter Alec Bettinger early, loading the bases with nobody out. Virginia was fortunate to get a 4-3 double play, but ultimately succumbed to a base-hit and a 0-2 deficit after one.
North Carolina would get another run in the second, but the Hoos knotted the score at three in the bottom half thanks to four walks (one with the bases loaded) and a Matt Thaiss two out, two RBI single. The Tar Heels got two more in the third including a Bettinger walk with the bases loaded. The walk would be the second run of the inning and prove to be the Virginia starter's last pitch. On the day he pitched 3.2 innings, gave up five earned runs on eight hits and five walks to go along with two strikeouts.
Virginia answered in the bottom half of the fourth with six runs to take the lead for good. After two quick outs, Ernie Clement, Thaiss, and Pavin Smith all walked to load the bases. That brought up Daniel Pinero who delivered a three-RBI, two-out double down the left field line. The Hoos weren't done as two more walks loaded the bases for Cam Simmons who brought home all three Cavaliers with a double of his own to right center. The Hoos left the fourth inning giving Kevin Doherty a 9-5 lead.
With the bullpen being such a question mark this season, it certainly helped that the Cavalier bats piled on a few more in the bottom of the fifth. After Adam Haseley led off the inning with a single, Thaiss delivered the games knockout blow with a two-run home run to right. Virginia added two more runs in the inning with a Charlie Cody single that plated Jack Gerstenmaier and Pinero.
North Carolina made things interesting in the sixth and seventh tacking on three and one runs more respectively, but when all was said and done, the Virginia bullpen did its job. Doherty pitched 1.1 innings, gave up three earned runs, on two hits, one walk and one strikeout to pick up the win. Rosenberger gave the Hoos two quality innings, though he was hit hard to the tune of four hits, he didn't walk anyone and only gave up one run. Essentially exactly what was needed with the Virginia offense playing the way it was.
Virginia got some additional insurance in the sixth and eighth to give Doyle all the cushion he would need. Doyle has performed admirably in his new role at the back end of the pen. Sunday he went two innings, gave up no runs on a single hit. It was just what the Hoos were looking for as they look to finish the season strong.
Pinero led the Hoos at the plate going 3-5, with three RBI and two runs scored. Clement also recorded three hits to go along with one RBI and one run scored. Thaiss was the leading RBI man chipping in two hits and four RBIs, two of which were courtesy of his two run homer in the fifth. On the day, eight Cavaliers registered at least one hit.
The win brings the Cavaliers' record 23-15, tied for second with UNC for second in the ACC Coastal at 9-9. That also ties for the sixth best record in the ACC, with the Hoos getting the nod due to the head to head tie break with the Heels. After mid-week games with Radford and VCU on Tuesday and Wednesday, Virginia will travel to Coral Gables to take on the ACC leading #1 team in the country Miami Hurricanes. It will be a solid test for Virginia, but one that will tell them exactly where they stand as they look to finish out the season.