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Virginia bounces back from opening game loss, demolishes Eastern Kentucky 13-1

The Cavaliers tallied 12 hits on their way to a series clinching win

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

In the culminating game of this weekend’s home stand, the Virginia Cavalier baseball team trounced Eastern Kentucky 13-1 behind the strong pitching of Evan Sperling and some hot bats.

The ‘Hoos put up three runs with two outs in the top of the first to jump out to a quick lead. Virginia used a Nate Eikhoff 2 RBI double and a Tanner Morris single through the right side to get ahead. They would tack on one more in the second thanks to an Eastern Kentucky error to take a commanding 4-0 lead early in the game.

Virginia was stifled in the third but hit around the lineup in the fourth as they put up 6 runs and effectively put the game out of reach. Joe McCarthy led the inning off with a single through the right side and the onslaught ensued. The Cavaliers tallied 5 hits in the inning, highlighted by a pair of doubles off the bats of Andy Weber and Tanner Morris.

The Cavaliers failed to add more the next three innings but ended their offensive day on a high note, posting another crooked number in the eighth when they knocked in 3 more runs after Jalen Harrison ripped a triple into the right field corner.

Six foot-six inch right-handed pitcher Evan Sperling was dominant from the start as he cruised through the first two innings, posting five strikeouts through the first eight batters he faced. Sperling would give up his only hit in his five innings of work in the top of the second and was untouched after that. He finished the day throwing 69 pitches – 45 of them strikes – and fanned 6 of the 17 batters he faced, while giving up 0 earned runs. The junior followed up his strong performance against Rice last weekend with another solid outing today. Having an ace to pitch on Sunday is a huge part of successful teams in college baseball, and so far, Sperling has filled the spot nicely.

Tanner Morris led the ‘Hoos offensively today with 2 hits and 2 RBIs. Jake McCarthy added 2 hits and 3 runs scored while Nate Eikhoff added a hit and 3 RBIs of his own.

The Cavaliers won the series 2-1 and moved to 4-3 on the young season.

Performers of the Series:

Offense

Virginia demonstrated its offensive versatility this weekend as multiple players had great weekends. Jake McCarthy takes home this weekend’s STL Hitter of the Series award as he tallied 2 hits in all 3 games and scored 6 runs. The junior outfielder has been nothing short of spectacular to start the season and it appears his preseason All-American hype was well warranted.

Pitching

Derek Casey and Evan Sperling each had great starts this weekend and showed they have the potential to dominate a lineup. Casey wins this weekend’s STL Pitcher of the Series following his 7 innings, 12 strikeouts and 1 earned run. Casey and Sperling each moved to 2-0 on the season and have racked up 33 Ks between them in just 23.2 innings.