Tigers Shut Out By #3 Virginia Again
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 03/23/2011
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Nick Natoli led the Tigers with two base hits.
Courtesy:PJ Dunn

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - For the second game in a row, third-ranked Virginia (21-2) used multiple pitchers to throw a combined shutout as the Cavaliers dealt the Tigers (6-14-1) a 5-0 loss in the second game of their two-game series at Davenport Field on Wednesday evening.

In addition to sweeping the two-game set, the Cavaliers won for the 15th time in 16 games.

Making his second start of the season, sophomore righthander Whit Mayberry earned the win by pitching five shutout innings. Junior lefthander Scott Silverstein came out of the bullpen to pitch two shutout innings before senior righthander Corey Hunt and freshman righthander Artie Lewicki finished up by pitching one scoreless inning each.

The shutout was the Cavaliers' seventh of the season and marked the third time this season that the Cavaliers pitched back-to-back shutouts.

It also marked the first time since April 22-23, 2003 that the Tigers had been shut out in consecutive games. In 2003, UMBC blanked Towson, 6-0, and Bucknell shut out the Tigers, 9-0.

The Tigers missed out on a great opportunity to take the lead in the top of the first inning. Senior shortstop Nick Natoli led off the game with a single to rightfield. However, Mayberry picked him off first base for the first out of the inning.  With two outs, senior third baseman Chris Wychock lined a double down the rightfield line. A walk to sophomore catcher Andrew Parker gave the Tigers two base runners with two outs. Sophomore centerfielder Ben Winter battled Mayberry through a nine-pitch at-bat as he fouled off six pitches before finally striking out to end the threat.

Senior righthander Tyler Bugna pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the first inning when he struck out junior third baseman Steven Proscia with two runners on base.

The Cavaliers snapped the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning. Junior second baseman Keith Werman led off with a line double down the rightfield line. Junior first baseman John Hicks gave the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead when he drilled a single to leftfield, scoring Werman with the first run of the game. Sophomore designated hitter Ryan Levine kept the rally alive when he singled to right as Hicks raced to third base.

The Cavaliers extended their lead to 2-0 when Proscia hit a sacrifice fly to rightfield. However, senior rightfielder Steve Rice turned the sacrifice fly into a double play when he alertly threw to second base where Natoli tagged Levine, who was trying to advance to second base. Bugna retired the side when he got senior catcher Kenny Swab on to hit a fly ball to centerfield for the third out.

With one out in the fourth inning, the Cavaliers added an unearned run. Sophomore centerfielder Reed Gragnani reached base when Bugna hit him with a pitch. Bugna was relieved by sophomore righthander Mike Volpe. On Volpe's first pitch, the Tigers called for a pitch out. Gragnani would have been out trying to steal second base but Parker's throw sailed into centerfield for a throwing error and Gragnani reached third base. Gragnani scored when freshman centerfielder Mitchell Shifflett hit a high bouncer to third base and Wychock threw him out.

After pitching five shutout innings, Mayberry was relieved by Silverstein at the start of the sixth inning. In his five innings of work, Mayberry allowed only four hits. He walked one and struck out four.

Natoli greeted Silverstein with a single to centerfield. With pinch hitter Brady Baxter at the plate, Natoli stole second base. However, Baxter popped up for the first out. Wychock drilled a long shot to deep left centerfield where Shifflett made the catch. After Parker was hit by a pitch, the Tigers had the tying run at the plate. But, Winter popped up to second base to end the threat.

Swab led off the Cavaliers' sixth inning with a double down the rightfield line. After senior rightfielder David Coleman bunted him over to third base, Swab scored on a sacrifice fly by Gragnani to give Virginia a 4-0 advantage.

In the seventh inning, Volpe walked the leadoff hitter, sophomore shortstop Chris Taylor, on four pitches. He was relieved by freshman lefthander Kyle Paul, the Tigers' third pitcher of the game. When Werman reached first base on a bunt single, the Cavaliers had two runners on base. An error by freshman second baseman Pat Fitzgerald on a ground ball by Hicks loaded the bases with no outs. But, Levine hit a ground ball to Natoli, who turned into a double play as Taylor scored from third base to make it a 5-0 lead. Freshman leftfielder Brandon Gonnella made a tremendous diving catch on a shot by Proscia to rob him of an extra base hit.

A leadoff double by freshman first baseman Hunter Bennett in the eighth inning gave the Tigers another scoring opportunity. However, Hunt retired the next three hitters to preserve the shutout.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, freshman righthander Chris Acker came into the game with runners on first and third and one out. He required only one pitch to get Shifflett to hit into an inning-ending double play, the Tigers' third twin-killing of the game.

Lewicki closed out the shutout when he retired the Tigers in order in the ninth inning, striking out two.

In the win, Virginia pitchers combined to hold the Tigers to six hits. They walked one and recorded nine strikeouts.

The Cavaliers outhit the Tigers by an 8-6 margin as Werman, Hicks and Levine had two hits each. Natoli led the Tigers with two hits and a stolen base.

The Tigers return to Colonial Athletic Association this weekend when they travel to Hofstra University for a three-game series. Towson and Hofstra play the series opener on Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.

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