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Virginia takes season opener

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

GREENVILLE Virginia's Nathan Kirby allowed no runs and three hits through seven innings as the Cavaliers used unearned runs in the fourth and fifth innings for a 3-1 win at East Carolina on Friday in the season opener for both teams.

Kirby, regarded as one of the top left-handed major league prospects in the college ranks, struck out five and walked two. The Cavaliers are ranked No. 2 at the outset of 2015 after finishing as runner-up to Vanderbilt in last season's College World Series.

It was the first game for ECU alumnus Cliff Godwin as coach of the Pirates. Last year, Godwin was an assistant at Ole Miss, which lost twice to UVa in the CWS.

Virginia's run in the fourth came after a dropped foul ball by the Pirates with two out. Kenny Towns singled to left with one out and Robbie Coman had a two-out single to right field. Towns scored from third just before Coman was caught in a rundown.

An infield error with two down in the fifth allowed Matt Thaiss to come home for a 2-0 Cavaliers lead. Thaiss singled off the first base bag to start the inning. He was awarded second when the ball was ruled dead for hitting a photographer.

Lefty Evan Kruczynski made his first start for the Pirates as projected opening day starter Reid Love was sidelined with an injury. Kruczynski did not yield an earned run in five and one-third innings.

A solo homer to left by Daniel Pinero in the eighth completed Virginia's scoring. All of the Cavaliers' runs came with two out.

ECU avoided a shutout in the eighth as Garrett Brooks reached on an infield single with one away and Hunter Allen had a ground rule double to right. The Pirates loaded the bases as Parker Lamm, who had a single and a double in his first two at-bats, was hit by a pitch.

Jimmy Boyd's sacrifice fly to right field brought in Brooks. Josh Sborz left the tying runs aboard with a fly to left. He threw 10 pitches in the ninth to get a save.

The series schedule has been modified because of cold weather in the forecast for Sunday. A doubleheader starts at noon today.

PAGE UPDATED 02/14/15 12:05 AM.

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