CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Junior righthander Will Roberts combined with freshman lefthander Kyle Crockett and freshman righthander Austin Young to throw an eight-hit shutout as #3 Virginia (20-2) won for the 14th time in its last 15 games, a 6-0 victory over the Tigers (6-13-1) at Davenport Field on Tuesday evening.
While pitching the Cavaliers' sixth shutout of the season, Roberts, Crockett and Young allowed eight singles with no walks and ten strikeouts. It was the first time that Towson was shut out this season and the first time the Tigers have been shut out since May 9, 2010 at North Carolina State.
Roberts, who upped his record to 4-0 on the season, pitched the first five innings and scattered six hits. He struck out four and lowered his E.R.A. to 1.26.
Crockett held the Tigers to a pair of hits in his three innings of relief. He struck out four batters. Making his third appearance of the season, Young pitched a perfect ninth inning as he struck out two of the three batters he faced.
"Virginia's pitching is unbelievably good," said Towson Coach Mike Gottlieb. "They all throw strikes and they are very effective. Their pitchers didn't walk anyone and we walked five batters and hit three others. That was the difference in the game."
Making his first start of the season, senior righthander Zach Umberger got off to a tough start as sophomore shortstop Chris Taylor led off the bottom of the first inning with a double down the leftfield line. But, Umberger settled down and retired the next three hitters in a row to escape the jam.
In the second inning, junior third baseman Steve Proscia reached base as the leadoff hitter when he was hit by a pitch. On a 3-2 pitch, senior first baseman Kenny Swab bounced a single through the left side as Proscia moved to third base. Once again, Umberger worked his way out of the jam. After striking out senior rightfielder David Coleman, he retired sophomore second baseman Stephen Bruno on a sharp ground ball to third base as senior Chris Wychock made a diving stop and threw him out at first base. Then, Umberger loaded the bases when he hit sophomore centerfielder Reed Gragnani with a pitch.
Umberger stranded all three base runners when he retired Taylor on a ground ball to shortstop.
In the fourth inning, the Tigers made a bid to take a lead. With one out, junior centerfielder Ben Winter and senior rightfielder Steve Rice hit back-to-back singles to rightfield, putting runners at first and third base. After junior catcher Brian Wyman popped up for the second out, the Tigers tried to pull off a double steal. However, the Cavaliers read the play perfectly. Junior catcher John Hicks fired down to second base where second baseman Keith Werman cut off the throw and returned it to Hicks, who tagged out Winter trying to score.
Umberger left the game after pitching three shutout innings, allowing only two hits. He was relieved by senior righthander Spencer Patton, who struggled with his control. Patton walked Proscia, the first hitter he faced, on four pitches. With one out, Proscia stole second base. Patton proceeded to load the bases as he walked Coleman and hit Werman with a pitch. With the bases loaded and one out, Patton got ahead of Gragnani with an 0-2 count. But, Gragnani worked out a walk to drive in the first run of the game. Moments later, Taylor lined an RBI single to left field, giving Virginia a 2-0 lead.
After facing six batters, Patton was relieved by freshman righthander Christian Duclos. Duclos struck out senior leftfielder John Barr for the second out. Then, Hicks made a strong bid for a grand slam homer as he hit a long drive to left that sophomore Cody Reeves caught with his back up against the fence.
In the fifth inning, the Cavaliers scored twice to increase their lead to 4-0. Sophomore designated hitter Ryan Levine led off with a single to right. Duclos retired the next two hitters before Levine went to second base on a wild pitch. Moments later, Coleman drilled a double down the rightfield line as Levine scored to make it a 3-0 lead. Werman followed with a line single to centerfield and Coleman beat Winter's throw to the plate to give Virginia a 4-0 advantage.
After Werman's single, freshman righthander Chris Acker relieved Duclos and retired Gragnani on a ground ball to shortstop.
The Tigers had another great opportunity to score in the eighth inning. Freshman first baseman Hunter Bennett opened the inning with a single. With one out, he reached second base on a ground ball to first. With two outs, Wychock hit a line drive single to centerfield. Gragnani came up with the ball and threw a strike to home plate where Bennett was tagged out trying to score. Hicks' tag preserved the shutout.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cavaliers extended their lead to 6-0. Gragnani drew a leadoff walk from junior righthander Tyler Austin. After pinch runner Mitchell Shiflett stole second base, Taylor doubled down the left field line, scoring Shiflett to make it a 5-0 lead. After freshman righthander Troy Bennett relieved Austin, Barr grounded to second base. But, Hicks gave the Cavaliers a 6-0 lead when he scorched a double down the left field line. After retiring Levine on a ground ball to third base, Bennett struck out pinch hitter Jared King to end the threat.
Taylor led the Cavaliers' ten-hit attack with three hits and two RBI's. Taylor had two of the Cavaliers' five doubles. Swab and Hicks also added two hits.
Wychock and Hunter Bennett led the Tigers with two hits each. It was the first two-hit game of Bennett's young career.
The Tigers return to action on Wednesday night when they play Virginia in the second game of their two-game series in Charlottesville at 5:00 p.m.
Towson is undecided upon its starting pitcher for Wednesday night's game.