Virginia came into the weekend looking to make a statement. Not only do they need wins to make a case for a berth in next month’s NCAA Regionals, but Virginia Tech has one of their best teams in years. And the Cavaliers delivered. The bats were on fire Friday night as UVA took the opener 18-1. The Hokies bounced back taking the second game 6-3. Finally Virginia punctuated the series win with a 6-1 victory in the deciding game three.
Game one got off to a slow start with both teams going scoreless through three. The Hokies got on the board with a run in the fourth, but it would be the fifth inning when the Hoos got rolling. Nic Kent wasted no time tying the game as he led off the fifth with a solo home run, his fourth of the year. Max Cotier would put the Hoos in front for good when his bases-loaded single through the right side plated Chris Newell and Jake Gelof. Zack Gelof would then score on a Devin Ortiz single before Kyle Teel cleared the bases with a two-out three-run home run making the score 7-1.
The Hoos added five more runs in the seventh thanks in part to a two-RBI single from Kent and singles by Jake Gelof and Newell. Virginia would get five more in the eighth as Ortiz, Teel, and Jake Gelof all drove in runs for their club. Alex Tappen would put the exclamation point on the victory with a ground-rule double scoring Christian Hlinka in the ninth.
While the bats were the story, they didn’t really need to be. Andrew Abbott had another fantastic outing going seven strong, giving up only one run (unearned) on four hits, no walks, and eight strike outs. He’s now up to 99 Ks on the year, leading the ACC and has now won three Friday Night starts in a row. Jake Berry finished things off on the mound for Virginia, pitching the eighth and ninth giving up only one hit and striking out two Hokies.
Cotier, Ortiz, and Jake Gelof all had three hits for the Cavaliers while Teel and Kent each each had two hits but four RBIs apiece. The 18 run outburst was certainly the most scored in a game this season, in fact it outpaces all but one weekend series (the Hoos scored 24 runs in a weekend against Georgia Tech the first weekend in April)
For a while on Saturday, it seemed as if Virginia had used up all its hits on Friday night. Virginia Tech starter Anthony Simonelli was terrific taking a perfect game through 4.2 innings before Kent lined a base hit to right center. By that time, the Hokies had built a 6-0 lead tagging Virginia starter Mike Vasil for six runs (three earned) on eight hits in just 2.2 innings of work.
The Cavaliers finally got on the board in the seventh when Ortiz made it all the way to third when his line drive bounced off the glove of Hokies right fielder Gavin Cross. He’d score a batter later on a ground out from Teel.
Virginia threatened in the eighth when Newell and Jake Gelof reached on a hit by pitch and walk respectively. They’d load the bases when Max Cotier legged out an infield hit. Virginia would score their second run of the game on a wild pitch, but leave the bases loaded ending the threat.
Better late than never, the Hoos rallied once again in the ninth. Teel led off the inning with a base hit and Kent walked. Teel advanced to third on a Newell fielders choice and scored on a wild pitch making the score 6-3. Alex Tappen drew a two-out walk but the rally fell short when Zack Gelof was retired on a chopper up the middle.
In the rubber match, the Hokies plated a run in the bottom of the first, but Virginia would get that run back and more in the top half of the second when Ortiz and Teel hit back to back long balls for a 2-1 lead. It gave Nate Savino all he would need allowing him to settle in and put the game on cruise control. He’d give up only one run (unearned) on six hits in seven innings of work. Most importantly he didn’t surrender a single base on balls, pitching to contact allowing his defense to do the work. After giving up a lead off-double to start the bottom of the eighth, Savino gave way to Blake Bales who immediately struck out two Hokies and induced an easy ground out to short to get out of the inning.
The fifth inning was once again good to the Hoos. After plating seven runs in the fifth on Friday night, Virginia would bring home two runs to take a 4-1 lead. The Hoos loaded the bases with two walks and an intentional pass before Brendan Rivoli laced a single to left beating the shift and plating two Cavaliers.
Virginia got additional runs in the seventh and eighth to extend the lead to 6-1. In the seventh Ortiz’s RBI single scored Cotier while Kent would add the final run in the eighth when he scored from third on a double play.
Stephen Schoch entered in the ninth and despite giving up one hit made easy work of the Hokies to earn the save.
The weekend was another banner series for Teel who banged out five hits, drove in six runs, and had two homers. Joining Teel with five hits were Cotier and Ortiz, the latter of whom also drove in four runs tying him with Kent for second most over the three games. As a team, their 27 runs were the most they’ve scored on a weekend all year.
The win is their fifth straight series win over their rivals to the south and brings the Cavaliers to 22-20 overall and 13-17 in the ACC on the year. With only two series left on the year, they’ll have to go 5-1 to avoid a losing record in the league. Still, this will go down as a quality series win on the road, something the committee will look at favorably for the Hoos come the end of the month. UVA will host VCU this Wednesday before returning to action May 14th for a three-game set against Wake Forest.