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Virginia sweeps Penn State to start 11-0

Offense picks up where it left off while pitching continues to dominate

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

For the third straight weekend, Virginia has swept their opponent in dominating fashion. This week, Virginia scored a combined 33 runs in its 10-1, 10-4, and 13-1 victories over the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Hoos were led at the plate by Kyle Teel who broke out from a “relatively” slow start to drive in eight runs while Jake Gelof did Jake Gelof things coming up with only three hits, though two of them were home runs. Griff O’Ferrall set the table brilliantly for the Hoos coming up with six hits, swiping three bases, and scoring a team-high eight runs.

While most of the attention is given to the Virginia hitters, the Cavalier pitchers have been tremendous. The Virginia pitching staff is second in the ACC with a paltry 1.55 ERA while only allowing teams to bat a mere .178 against them (tied for best in the ACC). They’ve been striking guys out at a blistering rate coming up with 13 k/9 innings and lead the ACC with 144 strike outs overall.

Virginia got on the board first on Friday night with O’Ferrall doing what a lead off batter does. He singled, stole second, and moved to third on a throwing error. That allowed him to score on Devin Ortiz’s RBI groundout to short and give the Hoos a 1-0 lead. Penn State would get that run back in the second thanks to a pair of doubles. Nate Savino would limit the damage however and get out of the inning.

Things went scoreless until Virginia broke the game wide open in the fifth. The Hoos sent eleven men to the plate and scored eight runs. Alex Tappen was a one man wrecking crew, doubling to lead off the frame (and scoring on an error) and blasting a two run homer later in the inning. Casey Saucke and Ortiz also came up with RBI, but it was Teel’s bases loaded triple that did the most damage.

The Cavaliers added another run in the sixth when Colin Tuft singled and moved to second on a wild pitch, then moved to third on a pass ball. When O’Ferrall struck out on a ball in the dirt, he was able to score while Penn State put out O’Ferrall.

That was all Savino needed as he’d go six innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits, while only surrendering one walk. He’d give way to Jake Hodorovich who pitched a perfect seventh and eighth innings before Paul Kosanovich threw a perfect 1-2-3 ninth to preserve the 10-1 victory.

On Saturday, Brian Gursky got the start for the Cavaliers and after giving up a run in the top of the first inning settled in for 5.1 inning outing. He’d give up only one additional earned run striking out five batters and scattering seven hits and pick up his third win of the season.

Virginia got the run back from Penn State in the bottom of the first inning and put the game out of reach with a five run second inning. The frame started with two walks and a base hit before O’Ferrall plated two Cavaliers with a single. Teel then delivered a three-run home run to give the Hoos a 6-1 lead.

Penn State got one more run in the fifth, but Dylan Bowers came in to stop the bleeding. He’d end up pitching two innings before surrendering two runs in the eighth and giving way to Matthew Buchanan. Buchanan went 1.2 innings giving up only a single walk to finish the day.

After the second inning eruption, the Hoos scored a pair of runs in both the fourth and seventh innings to end up taking the game 10-4.

Sunday the Hoos went for the sweep behind Brandon Neeck. Neeck worked five innings, giving up only a single earned run on just four hits and two walks while picking up six Ks. Jay Woolfolk and Jake Berry each gave up a single hit in 1.2 and one inning pitched respectively. Will Geerdes closed things out pitching a perfect ninth.

At the plate, Virginia got things going early when Gelof launched a two run home run to left then the Hoos added another pair of runs in the second highlighted by an RBI single by O’Ferrall. They took a 6-1 lead in the fourth on a two run home run by Ethan Anderson.

Things were once again quiet until the seventh when O’Ferrall scored again on an RBI single by Ortiz, but the Hoos really piled it on in the eighth. Saucke and O’Ferrall delivered RBI singles and Justin Rubin scored on a fielders choice off the bat of Teel. Then Gelof picked up his seventh home run of the year scoring Anthony Stephan and O’Ferrall in the process.

For the weekend, Virginia scored 33 runs on 33 hits. O’Ferrall led the team in hits and runs scored while Tuft was an impressive 4 for 6 scoring five runs as well. Teel and Gelof provided the pop driving in eight and six runs respectively. Ortiz and Saucke joined Teel and Tuft with four hits on the weekend.

Virginia is back in action with a mid-week game as George Washington comes to town. Then the Hoos kick off their ACC schedule with a weekend series in Durham against the Duke Blue Devils.