Virginia Clinches First ACC Series of Season

Courtesy UVA Sports Media Relations

Virginia broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the eighth by plating three runs en route to a 7-5 series-clinching victory over Pittsburgh Saturday at Disharoon Park.

After leading off the eighth with a single, Logan Michaels scored the go-ahead run from second base on a one-out Pittsburgh throwing error. Run scoring doubles from Cameron Simmons and Tanner Morris gave the Cavaliers (12-10, 4-4 ACC) a 7-4 advantage going into the ninth inning.

In the ninth, Pitt’s Ron Washington Jr. led the inning off with a solo home run but Kyle Whitten induced three straight ground outs to secure his first win of the season. The right-hander came into the game in the top of the eighth with the go-ahead runner on second base with two outs and forced Pitt’s Cole MaClaren to hit into a fielder’s choice to end the threat. Whitten has a save and a win in 2.1 innings pitched this week.

“To get the series win today it was a total team effort,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We weren’t spectacular from a pitching standpoint but Kyle Whitten did a nice job in the eighth inning with runners on first and second holding the game right there. Everyone in our lineup had a hit and that’s pretty rare in a college baseball game to have everyone in the lineup get a hit.”

The 12-hit day for the Cavalier offense featured every starter with at least one base hit. Simmons and Morris headlined the multi-hit efforts, each going 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI. For the second-straight game freshman Nic Kent collected two hits, finishing Saturday 2 for 3 with a run scored.

Junior Cayman Richardson gave the Cavaliers the initial lead with an RBI triple in the second. He later scored on a Michaels RBI ground out. The triple for Richardson was the second of his career and third by a Cavalier in 2019.

Both teams were the beneficiaries of defensive miscues as Pitt (7-14, 1-7) took its only lead by scoring a pair of unearned runs in the fifth. Two of the three Cavalier runs scored in the eighth were unearned and proved to be the difference in the ballgame.

Virginia starting pitcher Griff McGarry struck out six batters in four innings before giving way to reliever Andrew Abbott. Of the three runs scored on Abbott in 3.2 innings of work, just one was charged to his final line.

The series victory is the first for the Cavaliers this season and the first since taking two out of three at home against Georgia Tech (May 11-14) last year. Virginia improved to 18-5 against Pitt since the Panthers joined the ACC prior to the 2014 season.

Freshman Zack Gelof extended his reached base streak to 22 games and has currently hit safely in 11-straight games. Virginia trailed 4-2 in the going into the seventh inning and has now come from behind to win in four of the last six games. The Cavaliers have a total of seven comeback wins this season.

Virginia will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon with the series finale scheduled for 1 p.m. at Disharoon Park. Freshman Mike Vasil will get the nod for the Cavaliers on the mound. Pitt has yet to announce a starting pitcher.


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