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Virginia Baseball Rallies to Take Down ECU 8-3, Advances to Super Regional

The Hoos get some revenge over visiting ECU

Georgia Tech v Virginia Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

The Virginia Cavaliers were punched in the mouth a few times by East Carolina but always had the answer. On Sunday night, they rallied late to secure an 8-3 victory and complete a clean sweep of the Charlottesville Regional.

Game Summary

Situational hitting was key for the Hoos all game. The power bats came through when they needed to. The clutch base hits did as well.

In the top of the first, it was Kyle Teel who took advantage of a dropped third strike to drive Jake Gelof home with a two-out double. The Pirates struck right back when Jacob Starling laced a double into center, followed by two productive outs to bring him in.

A major challenge that ECU posed all weekend was their defense. Similar to Saturday’s key play where center fielder Lane Hoover brought back a Gelof home-run and turned it into a double, first baseman Josh Moylan kept a Teel grounder in the infield to save a run in the third. On the next play, Ethan Anderson stranded three runners with a fly out to right.

The Pirates went on to string three singles together in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead. But that was all UVA starting pitcher Connelly Early was going to allow. Early was freezing hitters with his fastball on the outer edge all night and had top tier command with his breaking ball. He left the game to a standing ovation after 6.1 innings, surrendering just one walk, two runs, and striking out ten.

Virginia’s bats were held relatively quiet until the seventh inning came. With two outs and two runners on, Ethan O’Donnell hit a carrying two run shot to put the Hoos up 4-2. Then came the dagger: Anthony Stephan’s eighth inning three-run blast to center. Kyle Teel smoked his 13th round-tripper of the season for good measure, breaking the single-season UVA hits record (101) in the process.

As far as the bullpen is concerned, Brian O’Connor rode his lefties to the finish line. Jay Woolfolk faced just one batter. Otherwise, it was a combination of Evan Blanco, Angelo Tonas, and of course, Jake Berry, who picked up his second save in a 24-hour span.

Wrapping Up and Looking Ahead

Contrary to what one might have expected, Virginia did not win in two-sided slugfests. Instead, Brian Edgington, Nick Parker, and Connelly Early each tossed gems. The absence of dominant starting pitching was the biggest concern for the Cavaliers going into the postseason and they certainly responded.

If you consider that alongside Teel, who has improved his batting average to .423 and his OPS to 1.177, there is no longer a ceiling on Virginia baseball in 2023. Of course, the journey to get there is long and difficult.

It continues next weekend where the Hoos will host the winner of Monday’s matchup between Duke and Coastal Carolina in a best-of-three super regional series. We will continue to provide coverage of UVA’s postseason run and scheduling updates as they are made available.