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Abbott, Kent shine in series opening victory

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

uva baseballFor the second-straight weekend Virginia emerged victorious in an ACC series opener after coming away with a 9-3 win over Duke on Friday at Disharoon Park.

The game also served as head coach Brian O’Connor’s 300th career ACC win.

Starting pitcher Andrew Abbott (Republican Grove, Va.) matched his career-high set earlier this season with 14 strikeouts over seven innings of work. The senior earned his fourth win of the year and produced his fourth quality start. Abbott did not walk a batter in the contest and was charged with three earned runs. He struck out three batters in an inning three times and seven of his last eight outs were strikeouts.

In the process, Abbott vaulted himself three spots and now sits in sixth place on UVA’s all-time strikeout list with 256. He came into the contest tied for the ACC lead in strikeouts and ranked fifth in all of college baseball. The lefthander has 91 strikeouts the season also establishing a career-high.

Abbott was provided all the run support he needed after Duke (17-17, 8-14 ACC) tied the game up at two in the fourth inning. The Cavaliers (18-18, 10-15 ACC) responded for six runs in the bottom half of the frame with four coming on the second grand slam of the season for Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.). The Cavalier shortstop finished with five RBI on the night and was 2-for-5 at the plate. He has four hits in the last two games.

“Andrew Abbott was outstanding tonight,” O’Connor said. “Even though he gave up the three solo home runs, the fact that he had no walks was really important for him and for us. It was a total collective, team effort from an offensive standpoint. Everybody in the starting lineup had a hit, there were contributions and quality at bats throughout the lineup. Obviously Nic Kent’s big grand slam really opened it up for us and it was a big at bat (in the game).”

Sophomore Max Cotier (New Milford, Conn.) had a hand in each of the first four runs of the game for Virginia. He finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI. In the first inning he scored on a Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.) RBI single and then drove in a run in the second inning with the first of his two RBI singles on the day. His second RBI base hit broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth and he later came around on a bases loaded walk issued to Kyle Teel (Mahwah, N.J.).

The Cavaliers compiled 13 hits, the fifth time this season Virginia has racked up 13 or more hits in an ACC game.

Game officials have moved the start time of Saturday’s middle game to 10 a.m. due to inclement weather in the forecast. Virginia will have Mike Vasil (5-3) on the hill and he will be opposed by righthander Jack Carey (2-1). The contest will air live on ACCNX as originally planned.

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