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Cavaliers Take Series in Chapel Hill to Start ACC Play

Though no longer undefeated, the Cavaliers served notice by taking two of three from UNC.

Coach O’Connor - Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Entering last weekend the Virginia Cavaliers were 12-0, but still not receiving the respect nationally that they probably thought they deserved. Largely due in part to a non-conference schedule that did not feature any other power conference teams and two series over Columbia and Rhode Island, respectively.

That changed over the weekend as UVA opened up ACC play on the road in Chapel Hill where they took two of three from the Tar Heels while the previously swept Columbia took a series on the road at unbeaten Alabama.

Game One
Virginia - 7
UNC - 3

The Cavalier bats jumped on UNC starter Max Carlson, pummeling out 7 hits and 6 runs in less than two innings giving UVA a 6-0 lead heading into the bottom half of the 2nd. UVA starter Nick Parker ended up surrendering two runs in that 2nd inning, but cruised through two more innings holding the Heels to just 2 runs over four innings. Angelo Tonas and Jake Berry combined to limit the Heels to three hits and a run over the next five innings securing the UVA victory.

All the starters in the Virginia lineup reached base at least once in the game that saw them produce 13 hits while Jake Gelof and Ethan O’Donnell each added a home run of their own.

Game Two
Virginia - 8
UNC - 4

Just as quickly as the Cavaliers jumped on the Heels in game one, UNC repaid the favor in game two scoring three runs on four hits. Both teams would go quiet through the fourth before the Cavalier offense would explode for runs in every inning from the fifth through the eighth totaling eight runs on eight hits and two walks over those four frames to take a commanding 8-3 lead.

The middle part of the Virginia lineup carried the offense as Kyle Teel, Casey Saucke, and Ethan Anderson all had at least three hits a piece while Ethan O’Donnell launched his second home run of the weekend.

Senior Jake Hodorovich would earn the victory by holding UNC scoreless and hitless over 1.1 innings before Jay Woolfolk took over in the 8th to close out the victory and secure the series win.

Game Three
UNC - 6
Virginia - 0

In the second matchup of Saturday’s doubleheader, the Hoos went for the sweep. However, an inability to capitalize on scoring opportunities befell the Cavaliers who dropped the game 6-0.

In the first inning, both teams put the leadoff man on but neither did much with the chance. Virginia came closest to cashing in with Gelof and Saucke unable to plate O’Donnell after he reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a wild pitch.

The Cavaliers threatened again in the third when O’Ferrall reached on his second walk of the game, moved to second on a walk to O’Donnell, and finally reached third on a sacrifice fly by Gelof. However, he was gunned down at the plate attempting to score on Teel’s ball to third.

Virginia looked to strike first In the top of the fifth with O’Donnell and Gelof both reaching, but O’Donnell would be thrown out trying to steal third before Teel was robbed by a bobbled catch by North Carolina right fielder Casey Cook. The Tar Heels would get on the board in the bottom half of the inning however as Jack O’Connor issued a pair of walks before Vance Honeycutt delivered a two-out single to left scoring Cook and Mac Horvath snuck a ball through the left side to score Colby Wilkerson.

Then in the sixth, Tomas Frick led off with a double and advance to third on a wild pitch. After a walk to Alberto Osuna, Bradley Hodges entered for the Cavaliers to replace O’Connor. Hodges was able to induce a double play off the bat of Johnny Castagnozzi, but Frick would score making the score 3-0 UNC. On the day, O’Connor was solid going five innings, with four hits, four walks and the three earned runs.

Virginia had another chance in the seventh, but North Carolina’s Matt Poston was able to get Gelof to strike out with runners at second and third to end the threat. North Carolina would then get two more runs thanks to a homer to left by Horvath scoring Honeycutt. They’d all the sixth and final run an inning later on a home run by Castagnozzi.

North Carolina’s Poston picked up the win combining with Jake Knapp to hold the Hoos scoreless on five hits and six walks. For the Hoos, they were led at the plate by O’Donnell who picked up two hits while Anderson, Tuft, and Didawick each picked up a hit.

The Cavaliers will take on George Washington in a midweek tilt on Tuesday in Charlottesville before heading to Raleigh for their second straight road ACC series this weekend against NC State that gets started on Thursday.