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Virginia Baseball: Hoos split double header; drop first game on the year

Four run first is too much to overcome as Hoos fall to Niagara 8-5

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Vanderbilt vs Virginia Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

After being able to rally against Kansas on the opening weekend in the the only other deficit they faced this year, the Hoos just couldn’t come all they way back as they dropped their first game of the year 8-5 against Niagara. The Hoos split their Saturday double header defeating La Salle 12-3 before falling to the Purple Eagles in the second game.

In the first game, Virginia looked to be running away with it early. The Hoos scored three runs in the first thanks to a two-run single by Robbie Coman plating Adam Haseley and Jake McCarthy. They’d add another in the fourth when Pavin Smith’s RBI single scored Ernie Clement. Then finally they went ahead 5-0 on freshman Jalen Harrison’s first home run (and first hit) as a Cavalier.

The Explorers would come roaring back against Evan Sperling in the sixth paced by an RBI single by Kevin McGowan making the score 5-1. Ben Faso would then rip a two-RBI double pulling La Salle within two.

However, Virginia’s bats would be too much as they exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the seventh. Andy Weber delivered the big hit with a bases-loaded triple that set the tone for the inning.

Sperling got the win improving to 3-0 on the year. He pitched seven strong innings only giving up three earned runs on five hits, two walks while striking out nine. Chesdin Harrington and Tyler Shambora pitched the eighth and ninth innings respectively only giving up a single hit each to sure up the 12-3 victory.

In the second game, Virginia was ultimately undone by a rocky first inning. Starter Noah Murdock was only able to get one out before giving up four earned runs on just three hits.

Tip your hat to Bennett Sousa who came on for Murdock and ended up pitching 4.2 innings of scoreless relief and giving the Hoos’ bats a chance at the comeback. However it wasn't to be as Bobby Nicholson gave up three runs and Riley Wilson gave up one run staking the Hoos to an 8-1 deficit through five and a half.

Virginia struck for three runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to two sacrifice flies and a balk to score a run. Then in the bottom of the ninth, after Haseley’s double scored McCarthy, the Hoos were able to load the bases. But unfortunately Cameron Comer struck out to end the rally.

On the day, Coman led the Virginia bats with five hits including a 4-4, three RBI effort against La Salle. Haseley had four hits on the day while McCarthy and Clement each had three hits over the course of the two games.

The Hoos are back in action tomorrow at 2:30 P.M. when they take on La Salle. Haseley will get the start in his usual Sunday spot as the Hoos look to bounce back from their first loss of the year.