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Virginia Baseball gets back to winning ways. Sweeps series over Miami

Jake Gelof ties career home run mark in the process

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

After dropping their first ACC series of the season last weekend at Virginia Tech, the Cavaliers bounced back in a big way. They left not doubt in a 14-2 shellacking of the Miami Hurricanes on Friday night before eeking out a 6-5 win on Saturday. Then on Sunday, used two history-making home runs by Jake Gelof to win 6-3 and secure the weekend sweep.

Gelof hit three home runs on the weekend, the last of which put him in a tie for the all-time career mark joining E.J. Anderson who hit 37 home runs when he played in Charlottesville from 1995-1998. It’s particularly impressive as Gelof has accomplished the feat in just two years. During his first year season, he wasn’t a fixture in the Cavalier lineup until later in the season as he appeared in only 38 of Virginia’s 63 games and started in just 29 of them. Add to that his first home run of the season didn’t even occur until the ACC tournament. He’s been able to hit home runs at a prolific clip and will most certainly add to record as the season goes along.

On Friday night, the Hoos got the offense rolling early and never looked back. In the bottom of the second, Casey Saucke knocked a one-out homer to left to get Virginia on the board. Following a pair of singles by Harrison Didawick and Griff O’Ferrall, Ethan O’Donnell smacked his eighth homer of season giving Virginia a four run lead.

Then in the bottom of the third, the Cavaliers added three more runs. This time, singles by Ethan Anderson and Anthony Stephan set the table for Saucke who reached on an error by the third baseman and allowed Anderson to score. After Henry Godbout reached on a fielders choice and Didawick was hit by a pitch, O’Ferrall knocked his second single of the game driving in Stephan and Godbout.

In the bottom of the sixth, the floodgates really opened as Virginia put six more runs on the scoreboard. Didawick singled and stole second. Gelof drove him in on a two-out single before Kyle Teel ripped a ground rule double down the left field line. Anderson laced a single up the middle scoring Gelof and Teel and Stephan walked. Saucke would then get his second big fly of the game driving in three runs and staking the Hoos to a 13-0 lead.

It would be more than enough for Virginia starter Brian Edgington who’d run his record to 6-0. The Virginia righty threw seven strong giving up only a single earned run on four hits and one walk while striking out ten Hurricanes. He’d give way to Chase Hungate who gave up an other earned run, but after the game was well in hand.

For good measure, Gelof would hit his tenth home run of the season, a solo shot in the eighth inning, leaving him just two shy of the all-time career mark at Virginia. Jake Hodorovich put a couple ‘Canes on base in the ninth, but got Renzo Gonzalez to strike out swinging and close out the Cavaliers 14-2 win.

On Saturday, Miami made sure to stay with Virginia early getting off to a hot start picking up a two-run home run by Edgardo Villegas and a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Virginia would get both of those back however as O’Ferrall and O’Donnell would reach before scoring on Gelof’s single to center.

The Cavaliers pulled ahead in the third when O’Ferrall knocked his second double of the game and scored on a triple by Gelof, his second RBI on the day. In the top of the fourth, Miami would get to Virginia starter Nick Parker. Parker who was making his first start since being hit in the head on a line drive against Florida State two weeks ago hit Blake Cyr before giving up a double to Dominic Pitelli. Then he got Dario Gomez to fly out, though Cyr scored. He’d then get Dorian Gonzalez for the second out of the inning but allowing Pittelli to score and giving Miami a 4-3 lead.

The Cavaliers took the lead back when Teel singled, Anderson and Saucke walked, and Godbout drove in two runs on a double to left. Miami would tie it up in the next frame when Zach Levenson picked up a single and Cyr ripped a double down the line. The run would come on a slow roller just out of the reach of Virginia pitcher Kevin Jaxel and the game was knotted at five.

Then in the bottom of the sixth, O’Ferrall and Gelof would do as they’ve done all season. The Virginia shortstop reached on a single before Gelof drove him in on a double and his third RBI of the game.

Jake Berry allowed a Hurricane to reach in both the seventh and eighth innings, but gave up no further damage before Jay Woolfolk closed out the ninth preserving a 6-5 win and clinching the series for the Hoos.

Finally, on Easter Sunday, the Hoos looked primed for a sweep, and just like they did on Saturday night, the Cavaliers fell into an early two run hole. In the top of the third, Miami got a pair of singles and a double off Jack O’Connor, but Virginia would respond. In the bottom of the fourth O’Donnell led off with a single and scored on Gelof’s 36th career home run. Teel would walk and Anderson singled advancing the Cavalier catcher to third. Teel would then score on a Stephan’s fielder’s choice put out to second. After a Saucke ground out, Stephan would score on Godbout’s RBI single to center giving the Hoos a 4-2 lead.

That would be all O’Connor would need as he went 6.1 innings giving up three earned runs on eight hits, one walk, and nine strike outs. But just for good measure, Virginia tacked on a couple more in the fifth when O’Ferrall reached and scored on Gelof’s record-tying blast to left-center.

For the weekend, O’Ferrall played the part of table setter, reaching base at a .642 clip on seven hits and two walks. Joining O’Ferrall with seven hits was Gelof who led the team in home runs and RBI. Teel added six hits and scored three runs, a mark equaled by O’Donnell, Anderson, and Stephan.

Virginia now sits 28-4 overall, 11-4 in conference and atop the ACC Coastal Division. They face a pair of mid-week games against Richmond and Mount St. Mary’s before hosting Pitt in a three-game ACC Coastal matchup.