From the very first batter faced, it was clear Andrew Abbott was going to have an outstanding night on the mound. His pitches were crisp, and (almost) every Wake Forest batter found himself slowly walking back to the dugout after striking out.
He struck out a career-high 16 total batters in 7 1⁄3 innings as Virginia cruised to a 17-0 win over the Demon Deacons in a game they badly needed to keep postseason hopes alive. It was the third straight game that Abbott had given the Hoos at least seven innings pitched, and it was the most strikeouts from one pitcher since Nathan Kirby got 18 in 2014.
Abbott, Jake Berry (2/3 an inning), and Griff McGarry (one inning) combined to no-hit the Demon Deacons, giving Virginia its seventh no-hitter in program history and the first since a six-pitcher no-hitter in 2018.
In the first 17 batters faced, only three escaped without being struck out: Brock Wilken earned two walks, and Lucas Costello flied out to right to end the third inning.
While Abbott was dealing on the mound, Virginia’s bats came alive. Brendan Rivoli and Zack Gelof each hammered 2-run home runs for the Hoos, and Virginia lit up Wake Forest for 14 hits in the game. It could have been even worse as they left 11 runners on base.
Virginia struck first in the game, but it wasn’t with the bats as their first two runs were scored on wild pitches by starter Ryan Cusick in the second inning. Gelof scored on a single by Max Cotier, and Rivoli’s home run over the right field wall pushed the Cavalier lead to 5-0 in the fourth.
Nic Kent advanced to third on a wild pitch in the bottom of the fifth, then came home on an errant throw from the catcher on the same play. A Christian Hlinka single up the middle scored Jake Gelof, and big brother Zack demolished a ball 15 rows up in the left field stands to make it 9-0 Hoos.
Abbott’s 15th strike out — a new career high for the senior from Republican Grove, Virginia — came to close the top of the sixth inning. The Deacs got a pop out and an out on the first base line after a bunt attempt for the other two outs of the inning.
Jake Gelof ripped a triple off the base of the right field wall to score Chris Newell and make it a 10-0 lead. In a scary moment, Zack Gelof took a pitch high in the shoulder area, sending him to the dirt and causing head coach Brian O’Connor to hurry out of the dugout. He popped back up after a moment and was able to stay in the game.
Virginia loaded the bases in the sixth with one out as Rivoli came up to the plate. He popped it up in the deep infield, giving Devin Ortiz a chance to continue building the lead. The Wake short stop made a nice play to snag a well hit ball up the middle, but the first baseman fumbled the ball as everyone was safe. Kyle Teel took a walk, scoring a run as the inning continued.
Wake brought in a new pitcher, but got the same result as he walked Nic Kent to make it 14-0. It looked like Newell was going to end the inning with a deep pop up to center, but the Wake Forest outfielder lost the ball, and it fell harmlessly to the grass as the bases cleared for a 17-0 lead. The inning mercifully ended with a Jake Gelof grounder, but not before eight runs crossed the plate for Virginia.
Abbott got two quick outs on two pitches to open the seventh and popped up the third batter to get out of the inning with no base runners. He returned in the eighth to face one batter — fittingly striking him out — before O’Connor came out to retrieve his star. After a well deserved ovation from the home crowd in his last game at Davenport, Jake Berry entered the game.
Wake Forest got a base runner thanks to an error by the first baseman, but Berry was able to get out of the inning without giving up a hit or allowing a run. Virginia loaded the bases yet again with two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Tate Ballestero struck out swinging, however, ending the Cavalier threat.
Griff McGarry entered the game for Virginia in the top of the ninth, getting three strikeouts and walking one to keep the no-hitter in tact.
Virginia hosts Wake Forest again Saturday night at 6pm and closes the home slate against the Deacs with Senior Day on Sunday at noon. The Hoos will end the regular season with a road series at Boston College that starts on May 20.