UVA fends off late rally to take series opener against Bucknell, 6-5

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia held on to a 6-5 victory in the opening game of a four-game series against Bucknell on Friday evening at Disharoon Park. The Bison (1-4) left the tying run on third in the top of the ninth after scoring five runs over the final four innings.

Reliever Stephen Schoch worked out of a bases-loaded jam with the tying run on second in the top of the eighth and stranded the tying run at third in the top of the ninth to record his second save in as many games. The graduate student found himself in a bases loaded, no out situation in the ninth and allowed a run before striking out two of the last three batters.

“It goes to show you in college baseball, games are hard to win,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We just couldn’t finish them (Bucknell) off and that’s a credit to them. They just didn’t go away.”

Bucknell scored five unanswered runs beginning in the sixth including two unearned on a Cavalier fielding error in the eighth. The Bucknell comeback effort came after Virginia (3-2) jumped out to a 6-0 lead after five frames.

The early lead was in large part due to one swing of the bat by Devin Ortiz, who belted a grand slam in the bottom of the second inning of a scoreless ball game. Ortiz drilled a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall for his first homer of the season and second of his career.

Virginia tacked on two more runs in the sixth with RBI singles from Brendan Rivoli and Marc Lebreux. Lebreux and Rivoli each collected two hits on the day, their first multi-hit efforts of the season.

Starting pitcher Griff McGarry earned his second win of the young season and pitched into the sixth inning. The junior right-hander struck out seven batters, six over the first three innings. McGarry held the Bison hitless until the second batter of the fourth inning and exited after the first two batters reached base in the sixth.

Senior Paul Kosanovich came on in relief of McGarry and retired four-straight batters and six of the seven he faced. The appearance was the first of the season for Kosanovich.

The two teams will play a single-admission doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon before wrapping up the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. Virginia will throw right-handers Mike Vasil and Chesdin Harrington in games one and two, respectively. The nightcap of the twinbill will begin 40 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

Box Score

Additional Notes

  • The last Cavalier to hit a grand slam was Alex Tappen when he cleared the bases against Radford on April 11, 2018.
  • Virginia moved to 2-0 in one-run games this season. The Cavaliers were 7-7 in one-run games last season and 6-8 in 2018.
  • The Cavaliers improved to 24-1 all-time against Bucknell and 14-0 under O’Connor.
  • Friday night’s victory was the 14th straight against non-conference foes at Disharoon Park.
  • Virginia was a perfect 5 for 5 in stolen bases. Two were swiped by Chris Newell, who came into the weekend tied for second in the ACC with five.

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