BLACKSBURG, Va. – The fifth-ranked Virginia baseball was swept by Virginia Tech in a doubleheader Saturday at English Field in Blacksburg, falling 5-3 in the opener and 11-6 in the nightcap. UVa (38-8, 17-7 ACC) lost both games in an ACC doubleheader for the first time since April 6, 2008, at Florida State, and the Cavaliers lost just their second conference series of the season as the Hokies (27-18, 11-13) took two of three games.
Virginia played its fifth doubleheader of the season; the Cavaliers swept the first four, including doubleheaders against current top-10 foes NC State and Florida State.
The Cavaliers' loss in Game 2 was their first by more than two runs this season.
Kenny Towns (So., Burke, Va.) was 5-for-8 with a homer and two doubles in the doubleheader for Virginia.
Virginia had its seven-game win streak snapped in the opener. Towns homered as part of a 3-for-4 performance. He had half of Virginia's hits in the first game.
Scott Silverstein (R-Sr., Olney, Md.) was handed his first loss of the year and fell to 7-1 after allowing five runs (four earned), 10 hits and a walk over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out a pair. Josh Sborz (Fr., McLean, Va.) worked 2 2/3 perfect innings to keep the game close.
Joe Mantiply (4-0) earned the win for the Hokies after scattering three runs, six hits and three walks over seven innings. Clark Labitan pitched the final 1 2/3 innings to notch his sixth save.
Virginia Tech broke out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Alex Perez and Sean Keselica hit consecutive singles to start the inning and one out later Mark Zagunis walked to load the bases. Tyler Horan hit a sacrifice fly to score Perez, and Andrew Rash grounded a single into right field to bring Keselica home.
UVa knotted the score in the second inning. Derek Fisher (So., Rexmont, Pa.) led off with his sixth home run of the year into the bullpen in right field. Joe McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.) and Towns hit back-to-back singles and were sacrificed up a base each by Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.). Nate Irving (So., Yonkers, N.Y.) then grounded out to score McCarthy.
Virginia Tech took advantage of a UVa error to score a third-inning run. Keselica reached to lead off the inning on a Gragnani fielding error. He advanced on a Chad Pinder single and then went to third when Zagunis grounded into a fielder's choice for the first out. Horan then grounded into another fielder's choice, with Keselica scoring on the play.
Virginia tied the game 3-3 in the sixth when Towns launched a solo home run to left field, his fifth long ball of the year.
The Hokies took the lead back for good with a pair of runs in their half of the sixth. Rash and Brendon Hayden started the inning with singles. Kyle Wernicki sacrificed the runners up a base apiece, and Chad Morgan and Perez followed with RBI singles to give Virginia Tech a 5-3 edge. Silverstein loaded the bases by hitting Keselica with a pitch. Sborz entered and got Pinder to fly out to right field, and Papi fired perfectly to Irving at the plate, who absorbed a collision from Morgan and held onto the ball to get the third out.
UVa's best threat to tie the game came in the eighth when Hayden took the mound and issued one-out walks to Fisher and McCarthy, but Labitan entered the game and induced a 6-4-3 double-play ball from Towns to end the inning.
Virginia Tech hung an 11-6 loss on the Cavaliers in the second game, marking the most runs allowed by Virginia in a game this season.
UVa starter Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) worked 2 1/3 innings, allowing seven earned runs, six hits and a walk while striking out one. He took the loss and fell to 5-4 this season. Virginia Tech starter Devin Burke (7-3) pitched 7 1/3 innings and allowed five runs (four earned), eight hits and two walks while striking out two in earning the win.
Fisher, Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) and Towns all recorded two hits as Virginia finished with 11 hits.
Virginia took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, getting a two-out RBI double from Towns to score Cogswell. The Hokies responded with two runs in their half of the second when Rash clubbed a two-run homer to left-center.
UVa moved ahead, 3-2, in the third inning when McCarthy lined a two-out, two-run double into left field with the bases loaded. The Cavaliers lost out on another run when the ball bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double, forcing Fisher to stop at third.
Virginia Tech batted around in the third inning, scoring five times while knocking Howard from the game. Perez drew a leadoff walk and Keselica followed with a single. Pinder then grounded to shortstop, but Cogswell threw the ball away, with both runners coming around to score. Keselica was thrown out at third while trying to advance. Zagunis then singled and Horan homered over the bullpen in right field to give the Hokies a 6-3 lead. Rash singled off Howard, and Hayden blooped a single to center off reliever Nathan Kirby (Fr., Midlothian, Va.) before Kyle Wernicki grounded out to bring in a run and up the Hokies' lead to 7-3.
Virginia Tech added three runs in the fourth inning to take a commanding 10-3 lead. Perez led off with a single and Kirby walked Keselica. Kyle Crockett (Jr., Poquoson, Va.) entered the game and gave up a bouncer from Pinder then went through the infield and into right-center for a double, scoring Perez. Keselica then came home on a fielder's choice grounder from Hayden.
The Cavaliers got a run back in the seventh inning. King lined a single to right-center, and advanced a base on a throwing error by Wernicki in center field. Mike Papi (So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) lined out to right, moving King to third. Downes then grounded out to shortstop, scoring King.
The Hokies responded in their half of the seventh, as Rash tripled on Crockett's first pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Wernicki.
UVa scored its final run in the eighth on a Robbie Coman (Fr., Lake Worth, Fla.) double to plate McCarthy.
Virginia returns to action Tuesday with a 7 p.m. game against VCU at The Diamond. It marks the Cavaliers' final contest before beginning a nine-day break for final exams.