In the midst of an eight game road trip, Virginia travelled to Pitt looking to pick up another series win and solidify their spot at number two in the ACC Coastal Division. Behind strong pitching from Connor Jones and some timely hitting the Hoos were able to pick up two wins Saturday and thus the series. The wins run Virginia's record to 29-17, 14-10 in the ACC.
As Friday starter, Connor Jones has two jobs. Give his team a chance to win and set them up for the rest of the weekend. In just over a year since he took over Friday starting duties, Jones has done just that and Saturday's game one of a doubleheader was no different. Jones delivered a complete game one run, four hit effort which not only was good enough for the win, but set up the Virginia rotation and bullpen for the rest of the weekend. Jones has dominant through most of the game, going eight shutout innings only giving up one hit before the Panthers got to him in the ninth for a three hits and their only run of the game.
By that time though, Virginia had already done enough to make the rally insurmountable. After three scoreless innings, Virginia broke through after Matt Thaiss led of the fourth with a single. A Daniel Pinero walk followed before Adam Haseley ripped a two-run double to center scoring Thaiss and Pinero. The Hoos would add another run later in the inning when Haseley scored on an error at first base by Pitt. An inning later, the Cavaliers took advantage of another Pitt error when after Pinero struck out on a ball in the dirt, the throw to first went into right field allowing Ernie Clement and Justin Novak to score staking the Hoos to a 5-0 lead.
Thaiss and Clement both had two hits for Virginia raising their season averages to .371 and .342 respectively. Haseley drove in the runs with his two-RBI double, and Pinero was on base three times and scored one run.
Game two looked like it might be a blowout as the Hoos exploded for five runs in the top the first. Virginia sent eight men to the plate and got RBIs from Pavin Smith, Pinero, Haseley, Charlier Cody, and Nate Eikhoff. But the Hoos' bats would go cold and Pitt would chip away scoring two in the second, two more in the fifth, one to tie in the sixth, and the Panthers took a 6-5 lead in the seventh.
Virginia would barely threaten until the top of the ninth, when Virginia would get some help before breaking through. With one out in the inning, Eikhoff was hit by a pitch, Cam Simmons walked, and Clement reached on a fielder's choice (Simmons was out at second). That brought up Justin Novak who delivered the go ahead runs with a double to left field scoring Ryan Karstetter (who pinch ran for Eikhoff) and Clement. Tommy Doyle came on to close out the ninth and preserve the 7-6 win.
Alec Bettinger got the start and worked four innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits and two walks. Kevin Doherty was solid in long relief, though he also gave up three earned runs. Chesdin Harrington picked up the win getting one out in the bottom of the eighth and getting Doherty out of a jam. Then Doyle got the job done once again picking up his third save on the year.
Novak and Smith led the way at the plate with two hits apiece while Novak added two RBI. Clement led the scoring crossing the plate twice.
Virginia looks to get their first ACC sweep of the season as the two teams face off at 1 p.m. Haseley will be on the mound for Virginia. Keep an eye on the weather though as Pittsburgh looks to have rain in the forecast. If that is the case, Virginia's doubleheader sweep becomes all the more important.