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Cavaliers Drop Game 1 of Super Regional 5-4

Despite a late lead, UVA couldn’t hold on.

Virginia Media Relations

The Virginia Cavaliers dropped the opening round game of the Super Regional on Friday to the Duke Blue Devils, 5-4 in a tough loss that went down the final out.

Nick Parker was rolling through the first two innings giving up just a walk in the second inning, but in the third Duke got to him. Parker hit the leadoff batter Luke Storm brining up Dalton Lux. Lux stayed hot after his eight RBI performance last weekend in Conway by slugging an 0-2 pitch over the left centerfield wall to give Duke an early 2-0 lead. Virginia would battle back in the bottom of the frame however picking up a run on an RBI fielder’s choice by Ethan O’Donnell.

Duke kept the pressure on picking up another run in the top of the fifth. After Parker got the first two quick outs, he gave up a line drive to right field by Andrew Fischer. Casey Saucke laid out and almost made the out, but the ball got by him and Fischer got all the way to third. The next batter Jay Beshears hit a slow roller to third and in attempting an acrobatic throw, Jake Gelof threw the ball up the right field line allowing Fischer to score.

Virginia threatened in the bottom of the fifth when Henry Godbout and Colin Tuft drew one-out walks. The inning appeared to be over when Griff O’Ferrall struck out and Godbout was thrown out trying to steal third. But video replay showed Godbout got to the bag ahead of the tag giving the Cavaliers new life. But after getting ahead 3-0, O’Donnell allowed the count to go full before flying out to center field to end the rally.

As has been the case all year, the middle of the lineup came up big for the Cavaliers in the bottom of the sixth. Gelof led off by ripping a ball to the center and was able to stretch it into a double when Giovanni DiGiacomo misplayed the handle. Kyle Teel then blasted a ball off the right field wall that scored Gelof easily. Next up, Ethan Anderson hit a check swing line drive past the shift on the left side of the infield. Casey Saucke then dropped a beautiful bunt just to the third base side of the mound and the bases were loaded. Anthony Stephan then hit a hot shot that Beshears was able to snag and force out Stephan, but Teel was able to score easily to tie the game at three. Virginia got their first lead of the game when the next batter Godbout hit a first pitch fast ball to right that was caught, but Anderson was able to tag and score from third staking the Hoos to a 4-3 lead.

After retiring the first two Blue Devil hitters in the top of the seventh, Virginia went to the bullpen. Parker did exactly what was needed once again going 6.2 innings giving up three runs on six hits, two walks and four strikeouts. Evan Blanco then came in and in only one pitch got Fischer to fly out and end the inning.

Jay Woolfolk came on in the top of the eighth. He gave up a lead off single to Beshears, and after an Alex Stone fly out, MJ Metz singled to left. Jake Berry came on to relieve Woolfolk and immediately hit DiGiacomo. Tyler Albright then hit a fly ball to center which O’Donnell appeard to have caught. The ball squirted out and while the Hoos got the second out of the inning forcing out Metz at third, Beshears was able to score to knot the game at four. The next batter Storm then ripped a ball to left scoring DiGiacomo and giving the Blue Devils a 5-4 lead.

Virginia tried to get things going in the eighth after Teel led off with a single and stole second. But that’s all they’d get for the inning.

In the 9th Berry would put Duke down in order setting up drama for the UVA offense in the bottom half. With two outs, Griff O’Ferrall would get UVA’s 1st 2 out hit of the day and Ethan O’Donnell would follow him with a walk. Jake Gelof came to the plate with the winning run on first, put a charge into a deep fly, but ultimately caught by the Duke leftfielder to end the game.

Since 1999, as ESPN is want to point out, 79% of the teams that win the first game in a Super Regional go on to win the series. All hope is not lost for the Cavaliers though as in their five previous trips to the College World Series, UVA has dropped the opening game in the Super Regionals, including the last two times.

Game 2 of the series is scheduled for noon on Saturday. Virginia will likely start Connelly Early after his impressive performance last Sunday against ECU, while Duke could go with any number of starters before turning it over to their bullpen a few innings later.