Cavaliers cruise to 15-1 win over Army in Charlottesville Regional opener

By Scott Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

In front of a record postseason crowd at Disharoon Park Friday, the seventh-seeded Virginia baseball team gave the 5,487 Cavalier fans in attendance plenty of reasons to cheer in a 15-1 drubbing of Army to open the Charlottesville Regional.

The Wahoos (46-12) cranked out 18 hits on the day, while limiting the Black Knights (38-17) to one unearned run on just two hits, and struck out nine Army batters. UVA moves on to the winner’s bracket and will take on either No. 2 seed East Carolina or No. 3 Oklahoma on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Cavalier starter Brian Edgington put together five perfect innings Friday, striking out four Cadet batters along the way, while the UVA bats were red hot early on. Virginia lit up Army starting pitcher Robbie Buecker — a first-team All-Patriot League selection — for 6 runs on 7 hits in the bottom of the first inning, chasing him from the contest after throwing just 28 pitches and recording two outs.

Sophomore shortstop Griff O’Ferrall got it started with a first-pitch single up the middle, and then came around to score the game’s first run three batters later on a Kyle Teel RBI single. Junior third baseman Jake Gelof, who also reached on a first-pitch knock, made it 2-0 Hoos, scoring on a wild pitch on the following at-bat.

Sophomore first baseman Ethan Anderson then doubled the lead with a towering two-run home run over the right-field wall, his 12th of the year, and the Hoos were in front 4-0 after the 13th pitch they saw. Anderson has now homered in three-straight contests.

Freshman Henry Godbout had a memorable NCAA postseason debut, as his double down the left-field line scored Casey Saucke all the way from first base to make it 5-0 a few batters later. No. 9 hitter Colin Tuft was walked, bringing up O’Ferrall for the second time in the inning, and he again jumped on the first offering he saw, driving Godbout in from second to push the advantage to 6-0. Buecker was then replaced by Army reliever Tyler Prichard, who was finally able to record the third out and temporarily stop the bleeding. 

The offensive onslaught continued in the second inning, however, as the Hoos tacked on four more runs to push the lead to 10-0. Gelof and Teel both walked to start the inning, and Gelof came around to make it 7-0 on a throwing error by Kevin Dubrule. Saucke followed with an RBI single up the middle to bring Teel home, and then Anderson made it 9-0, scoring on a fielder’s choice during Godbout’s following at-bat.

Godbout stole second, then added the final Cavalier run of the inning — on Dubrule’s third error of the inning — to extend it to 10-0, as Prichard was able to strike out Ethan O’Donnell looking for the third out.

Edgington got through each of the next three frames unscathed, and moved to 8-3 on the season after throwing just 56 pitches on the day.

Anthony Stephan recorded a one-out double in the bottom of the fourth, and Godbout drove him in to extend the lead to 11-0 with an RBI single. O’Ferrall pushed the UVA lead to a dozen in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single to right to score Godbout.

Freshman reliever Cullen McKay entered in the sixth, making his first appearance since April 26 against Towson. In his two innings of work, McKay allowed an unearned run on one hit while walking three and striking out four. He struck out Dubrule to start the seventh, marking just Dubrule’s 12th strikeout all season in over 220 at-bats. Braden Golinski broke up the no-hitter with a single to left, and then came around to get Army on the board, 12-1, on a Gelof fielding error. McKay fanned the next two Cadet hitters to retire the side.

The Hoos kicked off the bottom of the seventh with back-to-back-to-back, stand-up doubles by Anderson, Saucke and pinch hitter Chris Baker to add on two more runs. Anderson brought home Penn grad transfer Tommy Courtney on a bases-loaded sac fly in the eighth to complete the scoring.

VCU transfer Chase Hungate came on in relief and tossed a perfect 1-2-3 eighth inning, and then another freshman, Jack O’Connor, closed it out in the ninth.

O’Ferrall finished the day 3 for 4 with a run and a pair of RBI, while Anderson was 2 for 4 with the homer, 3 runs scored and 3 RBI. Saucke went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI, and Godbout was 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles, 3 runs scored and 2 RBI. Gelof went 2 for 3 and scored twice, while Teel was 2 for 4 with an RBI and 2 runs scored.

First pitch from Disharoon Park for the Pirates-Sooners game is scheduled for 7 p.m., as the Cavaliers will rest up and await the winner on Saturday evening.

Game Notes

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

• Virginia scored six runs in the first inning, the 23rd time this season scoring five or more runs in an inning.  

• Virginia is 25-5 when scoring in the first inning and improved to 31-6 on the season when scoring first. 

• For the 22nd time this season, UVA scored 10 or more runs in a game. 

• UVA’s 15 runs scored are its most in an NCAA Tournament game since tallying 17 against William & Mary on June 3, 2016. 

• With two hits, Kyle Teel now has 96 on the season and moved sole possession of second place on UVA’s single season hits list. 

• Ethan Anderson, who blasted a three-run shot in the first, became the fourth Cavalier this season to record at least 12 home runs. It marks the first time in program history, four players have totaled 12 or more homers in a year. 

• The combined two-hitter was the first by the Cavaliers in the postseason since Brandon Waddell and Josh Sborz limited Florida to two hits in a 1-0 win over Florida in the College World Series (June 15, 2015).