UVA comes up short in 5-4 loss to Duke in Game One of Charlottesville Super Regional

By Scott Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

With two outs and the winning run aboard in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game One of the best-of-three NCAA Super Regional against Duke, Virginia junior power-hitting third baseman Jake Gelof stepped into the batter’s box.

There’s not really anyone else the seventh-seeded Cavaliers would have wanted at the plate in that situation, and Gelof nearly sent most of the sold-out Disharoon Park crowd home happy, but his long fly ball to deep left-center field wound up in the glove of Duke’s Tyler Albright for the final out at the warning track, as the Blue Devils rallied for a 5-4 victory on Friday.

Duke (39-22) trailed 4-3 heading into the eighth inning after UVA (48-13) scored three runs in the sixth to grab its first lead of the day. Sophomore reliever Jay Woolfolk gave up a pair of singles to start the inning before being replaced by Jake Berry out of the bullpen.

The next batter, Giovanni DiGiacomo, was hit by a Berry delivery to load the bases for Albright, who sent a shot into center field. Cavalier outfielder Ethan O’Donnell made a hustling, diving attempt — and nearly a highlight-reel, snow-cone grab — but couldn’t secure the ball, and Jay Beshears came around to tie the contest at 4-all. Duke first baseman Luke Storm then put the visitors on top with an RBI single to left.

ACC Player of the Year Kyle Teel’s leadoff single jumpstarted the bottom-half of the inning, as he proceeded to steal second base and represented the tying run with nobody out. Duke reliever Fran Oschell was able to get out of the inning unscathed, however, striking out Ethan Anderson before getting both Casey Saucke and Anthony Stephan to fly out. Virginia was just 2 for 13 (.154) on the day with runners in scoring position.

After the Wahoos turned a 4-6-3, inning-ending double play in the top of the ninth, Blue Devil closer James Tallon quickly recorded the first two outs in the bottom-half of the frame, and UVA was down to its last out.

But Griff O’Ferrall reached on an infield single, and then O’Donnell drew a free pass, bringing Gelof to the plate for one last gasp. Tallon was able to escape the jam and record his school-record 12th save of the season, and Duke sits one win away from making its first trip to Omaha since 1961.

Duke struck first on a two-run Devin Lux home run in the third, but the Hoos were able to get a run back on an O’Donnell RBI in the bottom of the third. The Blue Devils tacked on another in the fifth on a Beshears RBI single, and UVA trailed 3-1.

The Cavaliers got a leadoff double from Gelof to start the bottom of the sixth, and then Teel brought him around to score with a blast into right field. Anderson followed with a base hit before Saucke laid down a perfect bunt to load the bases for Anthony Stephan, who grounded out to second but tied the score at 3-3 as Teel sprinted home.

With runners at second and third, Henry Godbout gave the Hoos the lead on a sac fly to right. Going into the weekend, Virginia was 45-0 this season when leading through six innings, but couldn’t hang on Friday, and will now have to win twice to save the season.

Nick Parker got the start and went 6.2 innings, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits while walking two batters and striking out four. Woolfolk (2-1) took the loss, his first of the season.

In Saturday’s must-win Game Two, UVA skipper Brian O’Connor said he is leaning toward starting Connelly Early (11-2, 3.35 ERA), while Duke will counter with Alex Gow (3-3, 4.62 ERA). Both teams will be going with an all-hands-on-deck approach for the important matchup.

“Our guys battled the entire game,” O’Connor said afterwards. “Right there at the end, [we had] an opportunity with the right guy up, and he just missed hitting the ball out of the ballpark, but just really, really proud. Nick Parker gave us another quality start, pitched deep into the ballgame. [The Blue Devils] had a very good offensive approach against him and he did a nice job of managing some innings.”

Game Notes

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

  • With the loss, Virginia dropped to 10-4 in opening games of its three-game series this season. 
  • The Cavaliers saw their nine-game win streak at Disharoon Park come to a close. UVA’s last loss at home came against the Blue Devils in the game three of the regular-season series on April 30. 
  • In the second inning, Ethan Anderson recorded his 25th double of the season to move into a tie with teammate Kyle Teel for the UVA single-season doubles record. 
  • With three runs scored in the sixth, UVA has outscored its opponents 84-26 in sixth innings this year. 
  • UVA is now 6-3 in one-run games this season. 
  • The Cavaliers had won 81-straight games when leading after the seventh inning dating back to the 2021 season. It’s last loss when leading after seven came in the 2021 College World Series against eventual national champion Mississippi State. 
  • Virginia has lost the opening game of a Super Regional four times (2009, 2013, 2014 & 2021) and have advanced in three of those series. 
  • Friday was only the third loss suffered by the Cavaliers in a Nick Parker start and first six starts. UVA is 12-3 in his 15 games he’s pitched in this season. It was his 55th career start (40 at Coastal Carolina and 15 at UVA), the second-most of any active college pitcher. 
  • Griff O’Ferrall recorded his 29th multi-hit effort of the season and now has 99 hits on the year, one shy of match Phil Gosselin (2010) for second on UVA single-season list. 


Best of 3
Friday, June 9-Monday, June 12

No. 1 Wake Forest (50-10) vs No. 16 Alabama (43-19)
Game 1: Saturday, Noon (ESPN)
Game 2: Sunday, TBD
Game 3: Monday, TBD (if necessary)

Texas (41-20) vs No. 8 Stanford (41-17)
Game 1: Saturday, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 2: Sunday, TBD
Game 3: Monday, TBD (if necessary)

No. 5 LSU (46-15) vs No. 12 Kentucky (40-19)
Game 1: Saturday, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 2: Sunday, TBD
Game 3: Monday, TBD (if necessary)

Southern Miss (45-18) vs Tennessee (41-19)
Game 1: Saturday, 3 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 2: Sunday, TBD
Game 3: Monday, TBD (if necessary)

No. 2 Florida (49-15) vs No. 15 South Carolina (42-20)
Florida leads series, 1-0
Game 1: Florida 5, South Carolina 4
Game 2: Saturday, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 3: Sunday, TBD (if necessary)

No. 7 Virginia (48-13) vs Duke (39-22)
Duke leads series, 1-0
Game 1: Duke 5, Virginia 4
Game 2: Saturday, Noon (ESPN2)
Game 3: Sunday, TBD (if necessary)

Oregon (41-20) vs Oral Roberts (49-12)
Oregon leads series, 1-0
Game 1: Oregon 9, Oral Roberts 8
Game 2: Saturday, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 3: Sunday, TBD (if necessary)

No. 14 Indiana State (45-16) vs TCU (41-22)
TCU leads series, 1-0
Game 1: TCU 4, Indiana State 1
Game 2: Saturday, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
Game 3: Sunday, TBD (if necessary)