With pitching depth a big question mark for Virginia this weekend, the Hoos did just what they had to do jumping out to a 6-0 lead in the top of the first before handing the ball over to Derek Casey. Casey was terrific pitching a career high seven innings only giving up three runs on three hits while striking out eight along the way. The quality start saved Virginia’s arms in the bullpen, giving the Hoos essentially a full complement of relief for the series finale.
The Hoos got rolling early loading the bases in the top of the first on hits by Ernie Clement and Jake McCarthy and a walk by Adam Haseley. After walks by Robbie Coman and Caleb Knight plated two runs, Cam Simmons delivered an RBI single scoring Haseley. With the bases still loaded, Andy Weber reached on an error by the shortstop as Coman and Knight scored. Finally, Justin Novak made the score 6-0 with a single through the right side that scored Simmons.
Virginia tacked on three more runs in the top of the second as Haseley got things started with a walk and a stolen base. Coman singled and Knight was hit by a pitch before Simmons’ single to left scored Haseley. Coman scored on a ground out to first by Weber, then Knight came home on a Georgia Tech wild pitch.
The Yellow Jackets scored all three of their runs in the following two innings. First on a solo home run by Kyle McCann in the bottom of the second, then on a two-run home run by Wade Bailey in the bottom of the third. Casey settled down after the home run and pitched beautifully over the course of the next four innings retiring 13 of the final 14 batters he faced.
The Cavaliers poured it in the seventh. Haseley delivered a double to right scoring McCarthy and Novak before he scored on Smith’s RBI single. Two batters later, Smith scored on Simmons’ RBI double making the score 13-3. For the sophomore, it was his third RBI of the game.
Finally Smith drove the stake home with a three-run blast to right. It was his eleventh on the season and made the score 16-3.
Riley Wilson came on in relief of Casey and gave up only a single hit in his two innings of scoreless relief.
For Virginia, nine Cavaliers had hits as the team amassed 19 on the day. The Hoos were led by McCarthy with four hits. Simmons and Coman each had three while Clement, Smith, and Novak all had two. Smith and Simmons led the way in RBI with four and three respectively, while McCarthy and Haseley each scored three times.
The two teams meet in the rubber match Saturday at 12:30. As of now no starter for Virginia has been names. With Alec Bettinger not having pitched this weekend, look for him get a long outing if not the start. Tommy Doyle is also rested and capable of going multiple innings if need be. Virginia will look to win their sixth series in a row, and wrap up the fourth seed in the ACC Tournament with a chance at the third seed.