CLEMSON, S.C. - Mike Papi(So., Tunkhannock, Pa.) hit a pinch-hit, game-tying single in the ninth inning and the go-ahead solo home run in the 11th as the No. 12 Virginia baseball team rallied to top Clemson, 6-5, Friday evening at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson, S.C. Virginia (16-1, 3-1 ACC) trailed 5-2 with one out in the ninth inning before staging a comeback to force extra innings.
Virginia has won nine straight games against Clemson (10-6, 2-2) dating to 2010, marking its longest win streak ever over the Tigers.
UVa mounted a big ninth-inning comeback, scoring three times to tie the game. Brandon Downes (So., South Plainfield, N.J.) doubled off the top of the left-field wall to start the inning against Clemson closer Matt Campbell, and Joe McCarthy (Fr., Scranton, Pa.) followed with a single to move Downes to third. McCarthy stole second as Towns struck out on a check swing. Nick Howard (So., Olney, Md.) grounded to short to score Downes to cut it to 5-3, and Reed Gragnani (Sr., Richmond, Va.) hit a rocket off the top of wall in right-center to plate McCarthy. Kyle Schnell came on in relief, but Papi, pinch hitting for Nate Irving(So., Yonkers, N.Y.) singled up the middle to score Gragnani to knot the score.
Virginia loaded the bases with one out in the 10th, but reliever Mike Kent came on to strike out Towns and get Howard to fly out to right. Papi then crushed a one-out pitch from Kent over the right-field wall for his second homer of the year.