After Virginia fell to the Keydets in their home opener last weekend, the ‘Hoos were anxious to get even and keep the offense hot. Virginia outlasted the Virginia Military Institute on Tuesday night by a score of 10-9 on the strength of 13 hits and some clutch relief pitching.
Virginia got the night started with a flourish of base knocks but didn’t put up any runs until they scored 5 with 2 outs in the innings. A Nate Eikhoff single brought home McCarthy and Richardson, Charlie Cody followed that with a 2-RBI double of his own and Tanner Morris capped off the inning with a single to left that scored Cody.
The trend of 2-out runs would continue for the ‘Hoos in the second as they tacked on 3 more in the bottom of the frame on a Caleb Knight 3-run homer to deep left. Virginia would bring 5 more hitters to the plate in the inning but were unable to capitalize on a VMI error, leaving the bases loaded to end the inning.
The scoring did not stop there for the Cavaliers as they came right back to answer VMI’s single run in the top of the third inning with two more of their own. Joe McCarthy highlighted his nifty base running skills when, after walking to lead off the inning and advancing to second on a Richardson single, proceeded to steal third base and later sprint home on a wild pitch by VMI. Richardson would score from third later in the inning on a Knight groundout to the shortstop who was playing on the edge of the outfield grass. The 3 runs in the third, however, would be the last the ‘Hoos would score in the game as VMI’s bullpen was able to shut down the offense.
Andrew Abbott pitched well in his first appearance since throwing a scoreless inning against Eastern Kentucky last Friday. The freshman from Halifax County struck out 4 and allowed 4 in four innings of work. He ran into a bit of trouble in the fourth inning and wound up giving up three in the frame.
Fellow freshman Devin Ortiz entered the game in the fifth but was only able to record one out after giving up 2 runs and facing 4 batters. Yet another freshman, Kyle Whitten, relieved Ortiz. The 6’3 righty worked 2.2 innings and gave up 3 runs on 3 hits and struck out 2. VMI pulled within one at the end of the seventh innings but veteran lefty Bennett Sousa redeemed himself from the blown save last Friday to record a gutsy 6 out save to end VMI’s hopes.
The Cavaliers were led by Caleb Knight with a hit and 4 RBIs, and Nate Eikhoff who had 2 hits and 2 RBIs.
Virginia and VMI split the season series and the Cavaliers move to 5-3 on the season and return to action quickly when they face William and Mary tomorrow at 3pm at Davenport.