-- The Virginia baseball team authored 18 victories this season when trailing or tied in the late innings. The second-seeded Cavaliers fell a run short of number 19 on Wednesday night in the first round of the ACC tournament, losing 6-5 to No. 7 seed Duke.
The Cavs (42-12) fell behind 6-3 in the fourth inning, following a rain delay of 2 hours 43 minutes. Virginia got single runs in the sixth and eighth but was unable to get the equalizer.
"We definitely didn't think we were out of the game at all," Virginia captain Joe Koshansky said.
In the ninth, the Cavs went quietly: Tim Henry grounded to shortstop, Matt Street grounded to second and Mark Reynolds struck out swinging. The comeback bid was dead, Duke (25-29) advanced to the winners' bracket and Virginia faced elimination with one more defeat.
The Cavs will be joined by ninth-seeded Maryland (22-33) in the losers' bracket. The Terrapins nearly upset the tournament's top seed earlier in the day, but Georgia Tech persevered for a 4-3 win.
Brian Burks pitched eight strong innings as the defending champion Yellow Jackets squeezed past a last-place team they crushed in a three-game series last weekend in College Park.
Duke was swept by Virginia in the regular season, too, but Wednesday it got six strong innings from left-hander Tim Layden, who moved over from first base after the rain delay to replace starter Greg Burke. Layden, who threw a complete-game no-hitter against Old Dominion six weeks ago, allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and struck out eight.
"I was really impressed with the way Duke played," Virginia Coach Brian O'Connor said.
"He was pretty deceptive," Cavs first baseman Tom Hagan said of Layden. "He got us a couple of times."
The Cavaliers scored a run in each of the first three innings, but the Blue Devils rallied for four runs off Koshansky (7-3), the ACC player of the year, in the third, capping the burst on Bryan Smith's two-run homer.
After the rain, the Cavaliers didn't fare much better. Duke quickly got its fifth run with two singles and a double, then increased the lead to 6-3 on Adam Murray's sacrifice fly.
Virginia pulled a run closer in the sixth when Scott Headd scored from third on Henry's two-out bunt single to first base.
Reynolds kept the Cavaliers close with two sparkling plays at shortstop in the top of the eighth, and in the bottom of the inning, Hagan got them to 6-5 with a home run to left.
In the earlier game, Georgia Tech (39-17), which has won 18 straight, got four runs in the third inning to erase a 2-0 Maryland lead.
The Terps scratched out a run in the eighth and put a runner on in the ninth, but all-ACC third baseman Anthony Buffone grounded into a game-ending double play.
"We just couldn't push a couple [runs] through," said Coach Terry Rupp, whose Terps lost three home games against Tech last weekend by a combined score of 43-9.
Junior right-hander Sean Kane (1-8) had one of his better outings but struggled in the third inning, yielding a walk and three straight singles before Steven Blackwood smacked a two-run double off the left field wall for a 3-2 lead.
Kane's performance "actually surprised us," said Burks, who scattered 10 hits. "Maryland's pitching hasn't been very good of late, especially [last] weekend."