ACC Baseball Tournament: Day 1 Recap

Sborz nearly perfect in Virginia’s dominating 11-0 win over Georgia Tech

DURHAM, N.C.— In just his third start of the year, Virginia junior pitcher Josh Sborz (McLean, Va.) shut down the Georgia Tech bats en route to a mercy shortened, seven inning 11-0 victory over the Yellow Jackets to advance to the round robin round of the ACC Tournament at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.

Sborz was perfect through the first six innings retiring the first 18 batters he faced before he allowed a double to Ryan Peurifoy (Peachtree City, Ga.) who was pinch hitting for Daniel Spingola (Rosewell, Ga.) to lead-off the seventh inning. Sborz allowed two more walks in the inning but was able get out of the inning unscathed to finish the shutout. He threw 28 of his 89 pitches in the final inning.

“I was well aware of what was going on but I was unaware of the 10 run mercy,” said Sborz. “I didn’t realize that the game was over until the [Georgia Tech] third base coach started congratulating me as I headed to the dugout. I was just trying to get out of the inning as quick as possible,” he added.

Sborz served a majority of the season as the team’s closer recording an ACC best 12 saves on the season after making 15 starts in 2014.

Sborz’s effort is a huge boost for the Cavaliers and sets up the rest of the pitching staff well for the rest of the tournament.

“I think its really important that he [Sborz] was able to go deep into the game and allowed us to not have to use anybody else,” said Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor. “Now this gets us back to the other three teams that we are competing with in our pool and the fact that we didn’t have to touch anybody else and hopefully that gives a chance,” he added.

The seven inning complete game was just the first complete game for a Virginia pitcher this season.

Georgia Tech starter Jonathan King (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) only lasted three plus innings giving up seven runs (seven earned) on eight hits with one strikeout and two walks for the defending ACC Tournament Champions.

Virginia got on the board early with an RBI single by Matt Thaiss (Jackson, N.J.) that scored Adam Haseley (Windermere, Fla.) to put the Cavaliers up 1-0.

The ‘Hoos added four more runs in the third inning highlighted by a Pavin Smith (Jupiter, Fla.) two-run home run to put Virginia up 5-0.

The Cavaliers added three runs in each of the next two innings. A two run home run that just missed hitting the bull in left field by Daniel Pinero (Toronto, Ontario) in the fifth inning gave Virginia the 11 run lead that put the 10 run mercy rule into effect.

Virginia improves their record to 34-19 on the season while Georgia Tech’s season likely comes to an end falling to 32-23. Virginia plays Miami today at 3 pm, Notre Dame Friday morning and NC State Saturday night at 7 pm.

North Carolina hangs on to 5-3 win over Virginia Tech

North Carolina was able to stave off the upstart Virginia Tech Hokies in a tight 5-3 victory to advance to pool play of the ACC Tournament at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham, N.C.

Virginia Tech had the tying run just 90 feet away in the eighth inning and at the plate in the ninth inning but were unable to push across the tying run.

Carolina reliever Trevor Kelley (Wilmington, N.C.) shut the door on Virginia Tech’s season when he struck out power threat Brendon Hayden (Twin Lakes, Wisc.) who represented the tying run at the plate.

“I knew I wasn’t going to give him anything good to hit,” said Kelley, who picked up his fourth save of the season. “I was going to stay away and then that last pitch I came hard in on him on that last pitch I knew that I was going to get him out,” added Kelley.

In the eighth inning the Hokies had the bases loaded and the tying run just 90 feet away on third base with one out and Kelley was able to get back to back strikeouts of Andrew Mogg (Windermere, Fla.) and Phil Sciretta (Duxbury, Mass.) to end the threat.

“I was just being aggressive and I knew that I was going to get a slider in there. I got out of it the last inning with the slider and I was just very confident with that pitch,” said Kelley.

Tar Heels head coach Mike Fox challenged his team last week after getting swept by No. 24 Virginia last week and his team responded well picking up the much needed 5-3 victory over the Hokies.

“I just challenged my team that they are at the University of North Carolina and they play in a great league,” said Fox. “To go out and not play well, but not play with effort is unacceptable and I think they understood that and are even embarrassed to an extent and they responded the right way and came out and played hard and they did that today,” added Fox.

The Hokies came out and scored first to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning off of an RBI single from Saige Jenco (State College, Pa.) plating Max Ponzurick (Pittsburgh, Pa.).

An error by Jenco in the fourth inning sparked a three run rally that gave the Heels a 3-1 lead.

“I feel terrible for Saige because he is one the best defensive players that I have had the luxury of coaching,” said Virginia Tech head coach Patrick Mason. “I thought he got a good jump on the ball and put himself in position to catch it but at the last second he lost it in the sun.”

North Carolina added to their lead in the very next inning on an RBI groundout by Skye Bolt (Woodstock, Ga.) extending their lead to 4-1.

The Hokies kept at it though getting single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to cut the deficit to 4-3.

Elijah Sutherland (Kingsport, Tenn.) added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to give the Heels a 5-3 lead heading into the ninth.

With the win, the Tar Heels keep their season alive and improve to 33-22 while Virginia Tech falls to 27-27. North Carolina plays Louisville tonight at 7:00, Florida State Thursday night at 7:00 and Clemson Friday afternoon at 3:00.

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