When Chris Newell came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning in Virginia’s elimination game against Jacksonville, he was the only Wahoo without a hit on the afternoon. He changed that with one booming swing, ripping a solo home run over the right field fence and the fence that surrounds Founders Park in Columbia, SC. It was the 12th run for the Cavaliers as Virginia withstood several punches from the Dolphins to stay alive with a 13-8 victory.
Jake Gelof was once again incredible as the first year infielder went 3-for-4 with a home run, four runs scored, two RBI, and one walk. His four runs match a single-game postseason record for the Cavaliers, and — after having no home runs in the first 52 games of the season — the younger Gelof brother has now had three in four games.
Virginia’s 21 hits as a team set a new program postseason record, and both Zack Gelof and Kyle Teel finished with four hits apiece. Max Cotier went 3-for-4 with a team-high three RBI, and Teel, Newell, and Devin Ortiz joined J. Gelof with two RBI each.
Pitching had its struggles as Mike Vasil went just two innings, giving up seven hits and five earned runs. Whitten gave up two runs and one hit in 2.1 innings of work, but it was Nate Savino that saved the day with 4.2 innings of two-hit, one-run baseball.
There were five lead changes in the game, and Jacksonville led 7-6 heading into the sixth inning. The Dolphins got to starter Vasil in the third, tagging him for two of their four runs in the frame. Whitten came in with bases loaded and no outs and gave up two more runs before Jacksonville got out of the inning with a two-run lead. Virginia got one back in the fourth thanks to a Max Cotier run off a fielder’s choice.
The Hoos exploded in the sixth with five runs to take the lead back, with Nic Kent, J. Gelof, and Cotier driving in runs.
Virginia will now face the loser of No. 1 Old Dominion and No. 2 South Carolina to try and stay alive once more.