The 2021 adventure for the Virginia baseball team isn’t over yet, thanks to some heroics from Devin Ortiz. The senior right hander gave the Hoos 4.0 shutout innings, giving up one hit, two walks, and one hit by pitch and six strike outs. Then, in the bottom of the 10th, Ortiz ended things in a walk-off with a solo shot to left center to give the Hoos a 4-3 win over No. 11 national seed Old Dominion.
It’s the seventh Super Regional in school history, but the first time the Cavaliers have lost the opening game and battled back in elimination game after elimination game to win the pod.
As good as Ortiz was early on the mound, Old Dominion’s Hunter Gregory was better. The C-USA first-teamer was perfect through 5.1 keeping the Cavalier hitters off balance all day.
Once the starters left, the game was on. ODU took a 1-0 lead in the sixth, but Virginia took the lead back with a two-run seventh. The Monarchs would jump back in front with two runs in the top of the eighth, but the Hoos answered back with a run — thanks to a wild pitch — in the bottom half to tie it 3-3 going to the ninth. Neither team would get on the board in the ninth, although Virginia had a good opportunity with two left on base.
Stephen Schoch shut down the Monarchs in the top of the 10th, giving Virginia another shot at walking it off. After Kyle Teel grounded into an out, Ortiz stepped into the box and delivered.
Ortiz ran into to issues in the top of the third when he hit Thomas Wheeler before walking Kyle Battle. But after striking out Kenny Levari, he was able to get Carter Trice to fly out to center and end the threat.
Zach Messenger spelled Ortiz in the fifth and pitched a three-up, three-down frame. With one out in the sixth, he gave up an infield single to Carter Trice who then advanced to second on a throwing error by Max Cotier. With one out and a runner on second, Messinger struck out Andy Garriola before making way for Andrew Abbott. Abbott worked an 0-2 count to Brock Gagliardi who dribbled a ground through a hole in the shift scoring Trice (who reached third on an uncontested stolen base) and gave ODU a 1-0 lead.
Virginia finally got a base hit off Gregory in the bottom of the sixth when Logan Michaels ripped a one-out double to left. That would chase Gregory from the game as ODU turned to reliever Jason Hartline. On the day, the ODU ace pitched 5.1 innings of one-hit ball while striking out two Cavaliers. Hartline got Chris Newell to bounce into a 6-3 put out, advancing Michaels to third. Gelof battled with some fouled off pitches, but it would be all for naught as Hartline ended the threat with a strikeout.
ODU’s Tommy Bell led off the top of the seventh with a base hit to left. Abbott would get Lincoln Ransom to strike out, and after a sacrifice bunt by Thomas Wheeler, would give way to Stephen Schoch. With an 0-2 count to Kyle Battle, Schoch caught Bell trying to steal third with a nifty move on the mound.
Virginia would get on the board in a big way in the bottom of the seventh. Cotier drew a lead-off walk, and Kyle Teel ripped a long single off the very top of the wall. Ortiz reached when he hit a grounder down the third base line, and the throw to put out Teel at second was late. Nic Kent then bounced into an apparent 4-6-3 double play, but the call was overturned when it was determined by review that the Monarch first baseman trapped the ball against his thigh. Regardless, Cotier was able to score, tying the game at one. Tappen would put the Hoos in the lead when his RBI single scored Teel.
ODU tied it in the top of the eighth when Kyle Battle reached on a walk. Schoch got two Monarchs to strike out, but — following an Andy Garriola walk — Gagliardi struck again with a base hit to center scoring the speedy Battle from second. Unfortunately, the Monarchs weren’t done. After another Cotier error allowed Coutney to reach, Bell hit a single to right field scoring Garriola and giving ODU a 3-2 lead. Teel was able to throw out Gagliardi trying to score from second, but the damage was done.
In the bottom of the eighth, Zack Gelof drew a one-out walk and moved to second on a Teel single to left. The runners advanced to second and third, respectively on a wild pitch by Noah Dean. Then, with a 3-2 count, Dean threw another one over the catcher’s head. Ortiz took first on the walk, and the wild pitch allowed Gelof to score from third and tie the game at three. Nic Kent drew a two-out walk to load the bases, but ODU reliever Aaron Holiday got Tappen to fly out to the shortstop and end the threat.
Schoch finished with 3.1 innings of work, striking out five and keeping the Hoos in the game after Virginia tied it up in the eighth.
UVA will stay in Columbia and face the Dallas Baptist Patriots in next weekend’s NCAA Super Regionals. The Columbia Super Regional is as follows:
Saturday June 12: Noon ESPNU
Sunday June 13: Noon ESPN2 or ESPNU
Monday June 14: 1:00 PM ESPNU (if necessary)