WILMINGTON, N.C. – The top-ranked Virginia baseball team led from start to finish in a 7-2 road win over UNC Wilmington Sunday afternoon in front of a Brooks Field record crowd of 3,826. The game was the Cavaliers' final contest in the Hughes Bros. Challenge in Wilmington, N.C. Starting pitcher Josh Sborz (So., McLean, Va.) worked six hitless innings in a dominating performance for Virginia (2-1).
After dropping the opening game of the weekend to Kentucky, UVa bounced back with a vengeance, outscoring its opponents 19-2 while the pitching staff surrendered just nine hits.
In his longest career outing, Sborz (1-0) allowed just three walks and struck out four. Only three balls left the infield during his time on the mound. Preseason favorites in the CAA, the Seahawks (1-2) did not record a hit until one out in the seventh inning. UNCW starter Evan Phillips (0-1) tossed 3 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (two earned), four hits and a walk. He also fired three wild pitches as UNCW uncorked five wild pitches in the game, with UVa scoring three of its runs off of them.
The Cavaliers recorded nine hits, with Derek Fisher (Jr., Rexmont, Pa.) and Matt Thaiss (Fr., Jackson, N.J.) each picking up a pair of hits. Fisher drove in two runs and also scored twice, while Thaiss, in his first career start, also scored twice.
UVa jumped out to a quick lead with a pair of first-inning runs. Branden Cogswell (Jr., Ballston Lake, N.Y.) singled to lead off, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a one-out single to center by Joe McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.). McCarthy advanced to second on the throw home, which proved key when Fisher ripped a two-out single to center to plate the second run.
The Cavaliers pushed their lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning. Fisher reached base on a leadoff error and moved to second on a Thaiss single. Two outs later, a pair of Phillips wild pitches, followed by a wild pitch from reliever Ryan Foster, combined to bring both Fisher and Thaiss home.
Virginia pushed its lead to 5-0 in the sixth inning. Thaiss hit a leadoff double and moved to third on a fly ball to right from Kenny Towns (Jr., Burke, Va.). He scored on Christian MacDonald's wild pitch.
The lead swelled to 7-0 in the seventh inning on a Fisher RBI double off the right-center field wall and a Towns RBI single.
UNCW broke up the no-hitter with one out in the seventh inning on pinch hitter Dillon Bass's bouncing single deep in the hole between second and shortstop against reliever David Rosenberger (So., Bethlehem, Pa.). The Seahawks then broke up the shutout in the eighth inning on a two-run home run from pinch hitter Joe Bertone off Whit Mayberry (R-Sr., Alexandria, Va.).
Nick Howard (Jr., Olney, Md.) struck out a pair of batters in a perfect ninth inning to seal the victory.
The Cavaliers open the home portion of their schedule at 3 p.m. Tuesday when William and Mary comes to Davenport Field. UVa then plays host to East Carolina next weekend (Friday through Sunday) in a three-game series.