When you’re not the top seed in pool play at the ACC Tournament, every game is win and go home and Tuesday provided a good test as Virginia opened up their 2021 postseason. Standing in their way were the rival Virginia Tech Hokies, who despite being the 12 seed in the ACC Tournament were an NCAA at-large candidate up until just a couple weeks ago. Virginia needed and got a great effort from Zach Messinger and all the offensive firepower they’d need from Kyle Teel as they defeated VaTech 3-2, keeping their ACC Title hopes alive.
The Hoos got on the board first in the bottom of the second when after reaching on a walk, Logan Michaels stole second on a ball in the dirt and advanced to third when the middle infielders were late getting to second base and the catcher’s throw bounced into centerfield. A batter later Michaels scored on a sacrifice fly by Jake Gelof.
Virginia would extend the lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the third on an absolute bomb by Teel into the right field upper deck. It was the freshman’s team leading eighth home run on the year as he made good on his All-ACC selections earlier this week.
The Hokies inched closer in the top of the sixth on a two-run home run by Tanner Schobel making the score 3-2 Hoos and chasing Messinger from the ballgame. On the day, the Virginia starter was stellar going 5.1 innings, giving up 4 hits and two earned runs. He only allowed two walks and struck out six Hokies.
Brandon Neeck stopped the bleeding getting out of the sixth inning only allowing one hit while Blake Bales took over in the seventh and put up a zero giving up only a walk but earning two strikeouts.
Then in a bit of a surprise, Andrew Abbott pitched a scoreless eighth inning only giving up a hit. The Virginia ace, who is expected to start Friday’s game against Notre Dame appeared to be getting in some work and live-action throwing while his fifteen total pitches shouldn’t preclude him from starting Friday.
Finally, the Hoos turned to Kyle Whitten for the ninth. The senior pitched a perfect frame for his first save of the season.
At the plate, the Hoos were led by Teel who had two hits, including the two-run bomb. Zack Gelof, Devin Ortiz, and Nic Kent each tallied a base hit.
Virginia will look to advance to the ACC Semifinals when they take on the number one seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish Friday at 11 AM. The game will be televised by ACC Network and RSN