Friday night, fourth year pitcher Andrew Abbott took the mound at Davenport Field for the final time. What followed was a spectacular display as Abbott struck out 16 batters — the most strikeouts recorded by a pitcher in the ACC this season — en route to a 17-0 drubbing of Wake Forest.
He struck out the side four times in the 7.1 innings pitched against Wake and retired the last 12 batters he faced. Abbott had a remarkable 14 strikeouts through five innings, giving up just one pop fly to account for the other out.
“It was more about just giving my team the best chance to win [and] doing what I can,” Abbott said after the game. “Playing here for the last time trying to leave on a good note, you know, just go out the way that I can go out. And then, you know, come away with a win. I mean, that’s what we need right now as a team.
Abbott’s dominating performance led Virginia to the program’s seventh no-hitter, a combined effort with teammates Jake Berry and Griff McGarry.
“I’m just so proud of him,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said of Abbott’s performance. “You wish there were 5000 people in the stands, you know, you wish so many people could enjoy it. I think about where Andrew Abbott was last June and his return here and his commitment to be a starter, his commitment to develop all of his pitches. He knew he could do it. He told me he could do it.”
For his efforts, Abbott was named the ACC Pitcher of the Week. This is the second time he’s won the award this season, making him the first Cavalier to be named the conference’s pitcher of the week twice in the same season since Connor Jones did it 2016. Abbott also won the award the week of May 3 after Virginia won two-of-three at Virginia Tech.
Abbott’s improved play couldn’t come at a better time for a Virginia team that’s hoping to replicate some of the magic of the 2015 season and make a late season push. He’s now reached at least seven innings pitched in his last three outings and is starting to get run support to back him up.
“[With] the team coming together at the right time playing good baseball, a lot of things are clicking in a positive way,” Abbott said of Virginia’s momentum into the ACC tournament and potentially further. “You just hope that this game, along with others that we’ve won in the past can push us into the postseason.”
Virginia closes the regular season with a trip to Boston College starting on Friday, May 20. The series will be streamed by ACC Network Extra.