LYNCHBURG – If you weren't there on time, you missed what little offense there was. In the 1st inning, after an intentional walk left the bases loaded, Liberty's Josh Richardson hit Kenny Towns to bring in a run and then the next batter, Nick Howard, brought in another with an infield single. Those two runs were the different in a 2-0 win for the Cavaliers who improved to 26-3 with the victory.
UVa head coach Brian O'Connor said, "They pitched so well. You take it any way you can get it. We were patient in that first inning and got a few pitches to hit and fortunately we were lucky enough to score a couple runs and hold on."
LU coach Jim Toman added, "There were two plays in the first inning that I thought we should have got to and we didn't and had a couple wild pitches."
The rest of the way was a pitchers' duel. LU's Ashton Perritt pitched the final five innings and didn't give up a hit but UVa's bullpen was just as good. Four UVa pitchers combined on a one-hitter.
Flames coach Jim Toman said, "Our pitchers were excellent and we didn't have any errors but obviously offensively they threw some pretty good arms at us and they're good."
"They're the number four team in the country for a reason. They have awesome pitching and they three of their best guys and they executed their pitches well and we didn't make adjustments when we needed to make adjustments. We had a guy in scoring position twice and didn't get it done," said Trey Wimmer, the only LU player to get a hit – a double in the second inning. He was later stranded at third base.
It was UVa's first trip to Lynchburg since 2005 but this series could be played more often. O'Connor said he'd like to play this series every year but nothing has been formalized.
Liberty returns to Big South play this coming weekend at Coastal Carolina.
UVa will host VMI Wednesday.
From UVa athletics:
Richardson, making his first start of the year, falls to 1-2 on the season. The right-hander allowed two runs on three hits over four innings. The junior entered the game not having given up a run in five previous relief appearances. He struck out four batters and walked two.
Perritt took over in the fifth inning and finished the contest for the Flames. The sophomore did not allow a hit or run over final five frames. He struck out six Cavaliers and did not walk a batter.
However, four Virginia pitchers combined to hold the Flames to one hit on the night, en route to shutting out Liberty for the second time in 2012.
Liberty falls to 17-12 overall. Virginia moves to 26-3. The contest was the meeting between the two teams in Lynchburg since April 5, 2005.
The visiting Cavaliers scored the only runs of the game in the opening inning. With one out first baseman Jared King singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Right fielder Joe McCarthy then walked, and both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Two batters later, Mike Papi was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs. Richardson then hit designated hitter Kenny Towns with a pitch to force in the first run of the game. Third baseman Nick Howard followed with an infield single to plate another run for what proved to be the final score of 2-0.
Liberty threatened in the bottom of the second inning, but came away empty. Catcher Trey Wimmer lined a double into the left field corner to open the inning and advance to third base on a fly out by center fielder Ryan Cordell. However, Virginia starter Josh Sborz battled back and retired the next two Flames to end the inning and prevent the Flames from scoring.
From there, the pitchers from both sides took over. The only hit by either team came in the fourth inning, when the Cavaliers' Townes singled to begin the frame.
Sborz moves to 3-0 on the season. The Virginia right-hander allowed one hit over four scoreless innings. He struck out five and did not walk a batter. Kirby Crockett retired the Flames in order in the ninth inning to earn his third save of the season.
While Richardson and Perritt combined to strikeout 10 Cavaliers, the four Virginia pitchers combined to 14 Flames.
Liberty next steps back into Big South play this weekend with a three-game series against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The series opens at Pelican Park, Friday. First pitch is scheduled for Noon.