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Virginia Baseball takes Wake Forest weekend series, 2-1

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Mississippi State v Virginia Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the weekend, Virginia Baseball’s hot offense traveling to Wake Forest’s bandbox of a stadium was the story, but it was Virginia’s pitching that stole the show as the Cavaliers came away with a 2-1 weekend series win.

Friday night belonged to Nate Savino who pitched 6.1 innings, only giving up two earned runs on four hits. He worked efficiently, facing four batters or less in five of the seven innings he appeared. Things got a little rocky in the fourth when a walk and a pair of singles turned into the Demon Deacons only two runs of the game. He’d run into a little more trouble in the seventh when he surrendered two hits before giving way to Matt Wyatt who pitched out of the jam keep home team at two runs. Wyatt pitched the final 2.2 innings for the Hoos, giving up only a single walk and no hits to go along with two strikeouts.

At the plate, Virginia got on the board in the third when Max Cotier knocked a one-out single and moved to second on a base hit by Griff O’Ferrall. The pair would move to second and third on a pass ball, then score on a wild pitch and an error by Wake Forest catcher, Brendan Tinsman. They’d add another in the fourth on a solo home run by Alex Tappen, but they’d blow it wide open in the sixth inning plating four runs to take a 7-2 lead. The inning started with a pair of walks by Jake Gelof and Chris Newell (sandwiching a Tappen strikeout). The pair scored on a single by Casey Saucke thanks to an error by center fielder, Tommy Hawke. The free bases continued when Saucke advanced to third on an error and scored on a groundout by Colin Tuft. Cotier then walked and moved to second on a balk, eventually scoring on a single by O’Ferrall. The hoos would add another run in the ninth when he reached on a walk and scored when O’Ferrall reached on a bunt single making the score 8-2.

If Savino was great on Friday, the combination of Jake Berry, Jay Woolfolk, and Paul Kosanovich was even better on Saturday. The trio combined to go 8.2 innings without giving up a hit and to keep the Demon Deacons bats off the scoreboard. Berry was pitching in place of Brian Gursky who missed the start due to illness. The sophomore went five scoreless innings giving up four walks and fanning nine. Woolfolk pitched the sixth and seventh innings giving up two walks with four strikeouts and Kosanovich closed things out with two walks, two Ks and the lone hit.

While the pitching was the story, Tappen provided all the runs Virginia needed. His pair of home runs in the fourth and the fifth plated five runs and spelled the difference for Virginia. Newell drove in the first run of the game in the second when his sacrifice fly scored Gelof. Tappen’s two run blast in the fourth scored Gelof as well while his three run shot in the fifth plated Gelof and Kyle Teel. The Hoos added two more in the eighth when Justin Rubin reached on an error scoring Tuft and scored on a ground rule double by Teel.

Wake Forest avoided the sweep on Sunday jumping on Virginia early and often scoring two runs in the first, three more in third, two in the fourth, and one late in the seventh. The Demon Deacons got a three-run home run from Tinsman and a solo shot by Adam Cecere.

The home team chased Virginia starter Brandon Neeck from the game after just 2.1 innings. He gave up five earned runs on four hits, five walks, and four strikeouts. Dylan Bowers gave up another two earned runs in just 1.1 innings of work before Matthew Buchanan righted the ship going 1.1 scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Will Geerdes threw two innings, giving up a single earned run on four hits and two strikeouts. Jake Hodorovich completed the afternoon with a perfect eighth inning.

Teddy McGraw stifled the Virginia bats going five innings to pick up the win. For the day, the Hoos left seven men on base never able to come up with a big hit when they needed it. The Cavaliers got their lone run on a solo home run by Newell in the second inning, but never really threatened much all afternoon dropping the series finale 8-1.

For the weekend, Tappen only had three hits, but he made them count with all three clearing the fence. His six RBI were easily the most on the team while O’Ferrall and Saucke each led the team with four hits. It was a quiet weekend for Gelof as he didn’t get much to hit drawing four walks, but leading Virginia in runs scored with four.