After being swept a week ago in Coral Gables and dropping an in-state rivalry matchup against Old Dominion, the Virginia Cavaliers traveled to Pittsburgh for a much needed series win against the Panthers. Despite putting 18 runs on the board Saturday, the Cavaliers dropped games Friday and Sunday to lose the weekend series.
In Friday’s opener, Pitt jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but the Hoos were able to tie the game with runs in the fourth and fifth innings. However the sixth inning would be Virginia’s undoing. Nate Savino would give up four of those runs surrendering a leadoff walk as well as a base loaded walk before being relieved by Jay Woolfolk. Woolfolk gave up a pair of runs (credited to Savino) on Virginia’s second error of the inning before another Pitt single scored a fifth run. Finally, a wild pitch plated the Panther’s sixth run of the inning, putting them up 8-2.
Virginia scored two more runs in the eighth, but it wasn’t enough and the Hoos dropped the game 9-4. Savino took the loss giving up six runs (two earned) on four hits, with four walks, and five strikeouts. At the plate, Jake Gelof went 2-4 with two doubles while Griff O’Ferrall, Alex Tappen, and Devin Ortiz each had a hit and an RBI.
Saturday saw the Cavalier bats come alive as they snapped their five game losing streak taking Game Two 18-0. Virginia scored multiple runs in five of nine innings including putting seven runs on the board in the top of the fifth. The Hoos got things going early jumping out to a two run lead thanks to doubles by O’Ferrall and Kyle Teel along with a single by Gelof.
They’d get another pair in the third with Gelof singling again and scoring on an RBI groundout by Tappen. But it was the seven run fifth that broke the game wide open. Ortiz notched an RBI double while Justin Rubin chipped in a two RBI single. The story of the inning though was walks. Virginia batters drew six free passes with Gelof and Tappen each drawing walks with the bases loaded.
Virginia added another run in the sixth, then scored three runs in both the seventh and eighth taking advantage of Pitt errors while Ethan Anderson came up with a two RBI double and Colin Tuft knocked in a run on a single.
On the mound, Brian Gursky earned the win going 6.2 innings of shutout ball as he gave up only two hits, walked five batters, and struck-out six. Alex Greene allowed just two hits in his 2.1 innings of work to close it out for the visitors.
In Sunday’s rubber match, both teams had their chances, but it was the Pitt Panthers who got a few more hits and were able to take the win, 4-1. Jake Berry pitched well, but found himself in trouble loading the bases on both the second and fourth innings. He escaped only giving up two runs and the Hoos found themselves trailing 2-1.
In the fifth, Dylan Bowers walked the bases loaded before giving way to Brandon Neeck. Neeck was able to induce a ground ball to third before Gelof fired to Teel at the plate who turned and threw to first to force out Bryce Hulett. Devin Ortiz momentarily forgot how many outs there were as he rolled the ball towards the pitcher’s mound. After realizing his mistake, he chased down the ball and fired back to Teel who tagged out Sky Duff trying to score from second. It was a non-conventional triple play, but got the job done nonetheless.
From there, the Hoos couldn’t get anything started as they went three up, three down over their final four at bats while Pitt added two more runs in the seventh to put the game away 4-1.
Virginia heads to Richmond to take on Virginia Commonwealth at The Diamond on Tuesday before returning home on Wednesday to take on Georgetown. That will lead into a home weekend series against North Carolina.
After the series loss, Virginia finds themselves 27-9 overall and 10-8 in conference. They’re still in good shape for the postseason, but need to continue winning series to give themselves a solid shot at hosting an NCAA Regional for the first time since 2016.