Virginia bats heat up in 15-1 rout of Georgia Tech in ACC Pool Play

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo: UVA Athletics

After sweeping Georgia Tech on the road last weekend to close the regular season, Virginia fans wondered if the Cavaliers could continue the trend against the Yellow Jackets in ACC Championship pool play Wednesday afternoon in Durham.

The answer was a resounding yes, as 12th-ranked UVA poleaxed Tech, 15-1, in a run-rule, seven-inning victory. Scoring the most runs by a Cavalier team in ACC postseason play, it was Virginia’s 10th-straight win.

Starting right-hander Nick Parker was superb in handcuffing Yellow Jackets’ hitters, holding the nation’s fifth-ranked offense to a mere run on four hits in his complete-game appearance. It was Parker’s seventh win of the season.

Meanwhile, the righty received all the run support he could dream of, as UVA pounded out 17 hits, one shy of the program’s ACC Tournament record. Leading the way was ACC Player of the Year Kyle Teel, Ethan O’Donnell and Casey Saucke, each with three hits in the lopsided win that puts the Cavaliers in a battle with North Carolina (3 p.m. Thursday, ACC Network, WINA Radio) for a spot in the semifinals.

“The game started off a little bit slow, but when (Griff) O’Ferrall (shortstop) and (Ethan) O’Donnell made adjustments in their third, fourth, fifth at-bats… and Parker was in complete control like a 23- or 24-year-old veteran should, with great composure and great pitches,” said UVA coach Brian O’Connor after watching his team improve to 45-11.

While Teel was the conference’s player of the year, O’Ferrall showed why he is an important part of UVA’s offense as well. During an eight-run, fifth inning that blew the game open (the Cavaliers batted around in the 32-minute frame), O’Ferrall blasted a two-run double, followed by O’Donnell’s three-run homer, his 12th of the season.

“A week ago, going into the Georgia Tech series, [O’Ferrall and Teel] were neck-and-neck for the batting title,” O’Connor said of O’Ferrall, who is hitting .400 on the season. “He’s an outstanding defensive shortstop and he really makes us go at the top of the lineup. You think about the depth of the lineup and it starts off with him. He gets big, clutch hits.”

Teel, who was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle, added his 12th home run of the season, 27th of his career. He also ripped a record-breaking, 24th double of the season, a new Cavalier benchmark.

UVA added three more runs in the seventh, sparked by Saucke’s second RBI of the game. He has now reached base in 20 consecutive games.

Teel has been a force throughout the season, and that has continued into the postseason.

“He’s special as a player and a special human being with the energy and enthusiasm that he brings to the ballpark,” O’Connor said. “Every time we play, he’s incredibly impressive, and the fact that he catches every game in addition to being a really talented offensive player.”

It was Virginia’s sixth-straight win over Georgia Tech. O’Connor wasn’t going to show any mercy in the postseason with so much on the line. UVA is attempting to host a regional and potentially a super-regional, so every game is meaningful.

“My approach coming into this tournament was just to put our team in the best position to win every game, no matter whether it was a so-called meaningless game, and so we were going to go after Georgia Tech with everybody we had today, because not only are you trying to win an ACC championship, but there’s implications moving forward after this tournament as well,” O’Connor said.

The fact that Parker went the distance against Tech allowed O’Connor to keep his bullpen fresh for the Tar Heels on Thursday. UVA met Carolina in March, taking two of three games from the Heels.

ADDITIONAL NOTES (Courtesy UVA Media Relations)

  • The Cavaliers have won six-straight games against Georgia Tech, including all four meetings this season. It’s the first six-game win streak against the Yellow Jackets since the 2004-2005 seasons.
  • The eight-run outburst was the seventh time UVA has scored eight or more runs in an inning this season.
  • Virginia turned three double plays in the contest, tied for the most in a game this season.
  • The victory was Brian O’Connor’s 30th ACC Tournament win, tied with Sam Esposito (NC State) for ninth-most in league history.
  • Teel, the ACC Player of the Year, has 94 hits on the year, tied with Jarrett Parker (2009) for the second-most in a single season in program history.
  • Griff O’Ferrall scored his 69th run of the season, moving into sole possession of second on UVA’s single season runs list.
  • Parker’s complete game was the 23rd by a Cavalier in the ACC Tournament and only the fourth since 2000.


The winner of Thursday’s game between Virginia and North Carolina will advance to the semifinals on Saturday. The Cavaliers will have lefty Connelly Early on the mound and he will be opposed by righthander Jake Knapp. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.