After beginning the weekend with two straight victories the Cavaliers came back to earth on Sunday, dropping the weekend finale to Coastal Carolina, 5-4.
The writing was somewhat on the wall on Friday after UVa took an 8-0 lead into the 9th inning against Kent St only to watch the UVa bullpen allow the Flash back into the game with 6 runs in the final frame. A similar story played out with Coastal on Sunday.
The good news is the Hoos got another strong start from their starting pitcher, Tommy Doyle. The 2nd year held the Chanticleers to just two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out six over six innings. Doyle was removed after the 6th after only throwing 83 pitches. If this game came later in the year, Doyle likely would not have come out, but with this being the first weekend of the season, the pitchers are on shorter leashes.
The wheels came off after Doyle came out of the game and 2nd year Bennett Sousa took the mound and issued walks to the first two batters he faced. Kevin Doherty came on to replace Sousa and quickly got two outs before issuing a walk of his own and giving up a single allowing the two runners Sousa allowed to score, tying the game 4-4.
UVa "closer" Alec Bettinger came on in the 8th hoping to nail down the tie game, but allowed two walks to the first two batters he saw, and ultimately gave up a 2 out single and the go ahead run.
If UVa had been beaten by Chanticleer hits, this loss might not sting as much, but the bullpen faltered allowing Coastal Carolina to snatch the victory. Five walks over the final two frames from three pitchers out of the pen is very un-UVa and likely tore at Coach Kuhn.
However, the game wasn't full of bad news as the Cavalier offense was impressive given how early in the season they are performing. As a team, they scratched out 12 hits and 3 walks, but the middle of the UVa lineup will be a force the entire season. Ernie Clement, Matt Thaiss, and Pavin Smith will be one of the more formidable groups of 2-3-4 hitters in the country. Today, they combined for half of the Cavaliers hits and two of their three walks.
The loss pushes UVa's record to 2-1. The Cavaliers will be back on the field on Tuesday as they open up their 2016 slate at Davenport Field when they host VMI.