Virginia Tops Army In NCAA Regional Opener

Head Coach Joe Sottolano speaks to the team prior to the game.

Head Coach Joe Sottolano speaks to the team prior to the game.

June 2, 2012

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Stephen Bruno was 3-for-5 with three runs batted in, and Branden Cogswell went 1-for-2 with four RBI to help lead top-seeded Virginia past fourth-seeded Army, 9-1, an NCAA Charlottesville Regional game Saturday afternoon at Davenport Field.

Brandon Downes turned in a 3-for-4 performance with two runs scored for the host Cavaliers, who improve to 39-17-1 on the season.

Zach Price, Mark McCants and Alex Jensen led Army (41-14) offensively, posting two hits apiece. Price scored the Black Knights' lone run when he doubled leading off the sixth inning and scored on Kevin McKague'sRBI groundout.

Virginia, which outhit Army 8-7 in the contest, used a trio of three-run innings to post the victory. Cogswell's three-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning broke open a two-run game and provided the host Cavaliers with a 6-1 advantage. Bruno's RBI double during Virginia's three-run eighth inning rounded out the scoring.

Branden Kline (7-3) scattered six hits and allowed just one run over 5.2 innings to pick up the victory for UVa. He struck out five and walked one. Kyle Crockett and Austin Young limited Army to only one hit over the final 3.1 innings to nail down the win.

Army starter Chris Rowley(11-1) suffered his first loss of the season after yielding six runs on five hits over six innings. He walked five batters and hit four in the contest.

Manny Fernandez pitched a scoreless seventh inning, before Virginia touched Andrew Flahertyfor three runs (one earned) in the eighth.

"First, I'd like to compliment and congratulate Virginia," said Army head coach Joe Sottolano. "They are a club that understands their strengths, and they understand what they have to do in order to win. They played the game well, took advantage of their opportunities and put some balls in play when they needed to. I thought we gave them some help in certain situations, and they took advantage of that. My hat goes off to them; I think they're a well-coached ballclub. They threw strikes and didn't try to do anything crazy. They just try to play the game the way it's supposed to be played.

"One of our goals when we get here is to play well, and obviously that wasn't our best ballgame," added Sottolano. "We understand that it takes two (losses to be eliminated), and we haven't lost anything at this point. We are excited about the opportunity tomorrow brings, and we're ready to get back on the field."

Army appeared poised to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning, but Matthew Carterwas thrown out at home plate trying to score on Jensen's double. Carter reached on an error with two outs and motored all the way around from first when Jensen hooked a two-base hit into the left field corner. Virginia executed the relay throw perfectly, though, to nail Carter at the dish.

After stranding runners on second and third in the bottom of the first inning, Virginia struck for three runs in the second to assume a 3-0 lead. The Cavaliers, who did all of the damage with two outs, took advantage of two walks and two hit batsmen to push across their three runs. Cogswell drove home the first run of the frame when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Then, with the bases still loaded, Bruno delivered a two-run single up the middle to make it 3-0.

Army trimmed the Virginia advantage to 3-1 in the top of the sixth inning on McKague's RBI groundout. Price doubled leading off the frame, moved to third base on a wild pitch and scored when McKague grounded out to the pitcher. McCants followed with a base hit and J.T. Watkins walked to chase Kline from the game. Crockett was able to strike out Harold Earlslooking, however, to end the Army threat and avoid further damage.

Virginia extended its lead to 6-1 in the bottom half of the sixth when Cogswell hammered a three-run double into the gap in right center field. The Cavaliers loaded the bases and, with two outs, Cogswell jumped on the second pitch he saw and drove it over the head of Army right fielder Cody Murtle.

The Cavaliers tacked on three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to provide the final margin. Bruno's run-scoring double capped the rally, which was aided by an Army throwing error.

Army will continue play at the Charlottesville Regional on Sunday, June 3, when the Black Knights face either second-seeded Oklahoma or third-seeded Appalachian State in an elimination game at 11 a.m.

Game Notes: Army falls to 1-4-1 all-time versus Virginia ... Army is now 3-9 all-time in the NCAA Tournament ... the Black Knights wore their traditional road gray uniforms with black caps for today's game ... Zach Price moves into a tie for first place on Army's all-time runs scored list (174) ... Price moves into a tie for fifth place on the Black Knights' single-season runs scored ledger (51) ... Kevin McKague moves into a tie for eighth place on the Academy's single-season RBI list (45) ... Chris Rowley tied the single-season school record by starting his 15th game of the year.

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