In Saturday’s elimination game against Jacksonville, it was the Virginia bats that shone en route to a 13-8 victory. Sunday afternoon, facing elimination again, the Hoos got outstanding pitching performances from Matt Wyatt and Stephen Schoch to hold of the South Carolina Gamecocks, 3-2. Wyatt, who hadn’t started since March, went a career-high five innings and got a career-high eight strikeouts in front of a ferocious home crowd of over 4,000.
A run in each of the first three innings gave Wyatt a little room to work with, but South Carolina threatened with back-to-back runs in the sixth and seventh innings. Blake Bales came in in relief for Wyatt in the sixth, and retired the first batter he faced before walking the second in four straight pitches. Bales left the game after meeting with the trainer and looking like he was dealing with a small injury, so Zach Messinger stepped in with a runner on first. USC added one run, but Messinger got out of the inning holding on to the two-run lead.
In the seventh, things got a little tighter with a lead-off home run. South Carolina got back-to-back singles, and with no outs on the board, Joe Satterfield walked into the box for the Gamecocks. In one of the weirdest plays, Satterfield hit the ball back to Messinger, who appeared to initially caught the ball. He mishandled it, then fumbled it through his legs before making a sharp throw to third to start a double play. After a single put another base-runner on for USC, Schoch came in and recorded a three-pitch strikeout.
Schoch gave up one walk, no hits, and struck out five in 2.1 innings of work.
Offensively, Kyle Teel was the only Hoo with more than one hit as he went 2-for-4 at the plate with one run scored. Devin Ortiz, Nic Kent, and Alex Tappen all got an RBI, with the latter knocking a deep home run in the bottom of the second.
Virginia takes the diamond again tonight as the Hoos face No. 1 seed Old Dominion in their third straight elimination game. Brian O’Connor announced Griff McGarry will be starting for the Hoos. Game time is set for 6pm.