Coming off the exam break the Virginia Cavaliers’ baseball team entered the weekend series with Clemson in good position for a Regional host bid in this year’s NCAA Tournament. All they needed was to win two of three games, and despite the starts and stops due to inclement weather, that’s exactly what they did.
Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning of Game One, the ‘Hoos started to chip away. They’d score four runs thanks in part to a two RBI triple by Ethan Anderson before the rains came.
They then waited, and waited, until finally it was determined no more baseball would be played on Friday night. The game resumed on Saturday morning and Virginia kept the pressure on. A pair of walks scored another run and Devin Ortiz plated two more on a single as the ‘Hoos found themselves ahead 7-4.
Clemson would get two of those runs back, but a four run eighth inning secured the 11-6 victory in Game One. Matthew Buchanan picked up the Win as he combined with Jay Woolfolk and Brandon Neeck to pitch 4.1 innings of scoreless relief. Alex Tappen went 3-4 while Griff O’Ferrall joined Ortiz and Anderson with two hits in the game. Casey Saucke had two RBIs to lead the team in runs batted along with Ortiz and Anderson who also both drove in two runs apiece.
Game Two was supposed to be played following the end of Game One, but rain once again delayed the start. It wasn’t until Sunday morning when the two teams could begin play and once things got rolling, it was all Clemson. The Tigers got three runs in the first off Nate Savino and never looked back defeating Virginia 8-2. The ‘Hoos picked up 8 hits, but could never string together enough of them to score runs. Jake Gelof and Ortiz each had a pair of hits, while Kyle Teel and Saucke picked up RBIs.
More rain Sunday afternoon delayed the start of Game Three and the teams waited until 8:30 Sunday night before finally starting the third and final series-deciding contest. Clemson again jumped out to an early lead scoring a run in the top of the second off Jake Berry.
But the Cavaliers got that run back when Saucke scored on a wild pitch on a swinging third strike in the dirt by O’Ferrall. They’d get two more in the fourth on an Anderson two-run home run that barely left the yard, hitting off the top of the wall but giving Virginia a 3-1 lead.
The ‘Hoos scored three runs in the fifth inning highlighted by a two-run homer by Gelof. Clemson threatened in the ninth thanks in part to a solo home run by Bryar Hawkins, but Neeck was able to stem the rally as Virginia capped off a 6-3 win.
Paul Kosanovich picked up the win, pitching 3.2 innings of scoreless relief while Gelof was the only Cavalier with multiple hits. He along with Anderson both drove in a pair of runs, both courtesy of the long ball. For Gelof it was his 18th of season moving him into a tie for second on the all-time Virginia single season home run list.
Virginia fell two spots in RPI to 16 (compared to Sunday, May 8) in the RPI, despite picking up the series win. They’re still in great hosting position, but could solidify that status with a series win next weekend at Louisville in the regular season finale. Stay with Streaking the Lawn as we give you baseball coverage through May and into June.