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Virginia drops series opener to No. 18 Pitt, 2-1

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

uva baseballNo. 18 Pitt (10-4, 7-3 ACC) held on for a 2-1 victory over Virginia (8-9, 2-8 ACC) on Saturday in the opener of a three-game series at Disharoon Park.

Panther starting pitcher Mitch Myers threw a complete game and held the Cavaliers to three hits.

Myers was put in line for the win in the top of the sixth inning when Bryce Hulett delivered a two-out single to right field that allowed Ron Washington Jr. to score from second base. The go-ahead RBI was Hulett’s 11th run driven in this spring.

“It’s very difficult to throw a complete game in college baseball and he (Myers) was terrific, I tip my cap to him,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “He did an outstanding job mixing his pitches. We hit a lot of fly balls 270 feet and you’re just not going to be rewarded unless your approach is hitting line drives or you can hit those fly balls deep enough that they leave the ballpark.”

Virginia starting pitcher Andrew Abbott (Republican Grove, Va.), who entered the game as the ACC leader in strikeouts, fanned seven batters in 5.2 innings pitched. The lefty struck out four-straight beginning with the final batter of the first inning. Abbott scattered six hits and was charged with both Pitt runs.

The Cavaliers grabbed the initial lead in the third inning on a Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) sacrifice fly that scored Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.). The Panthers responded in the top half of the fourth and tied the game at one on a solo home run from David Yanni, his sixth homer of the spring.

Myers gave up hits to Max Cotier (New Milford, Conn.), Logan Michaels (DeForest, Wis.) and Ortiz. He allowed only one other batter to reach base when he walked Brendan Rivoli (Douglassville, Pa.) in the fourth. The Cavaliers put the tying run in scoring position in the eighth after a leadoff single by Cotier and a sacrifice bunt from Ortiz but Myers retired the final two batters to end the threat.

Myers struck out five batters in his nine innings of work and needed 105 pitches to record his second win of the season.

Cavalier reliever Blake Bales (Schoolcraft, Mich.) pitched the final 3.1 innings and did not allow a run. He limited the damage in the sixth by striking out the final batter of the inning and stranding a pair of Panther runners. He escaped the seventh unscathed after a leadoff double by Brock Franks and went on to retire the final six batters he faced.

In 14.2 innings pitched this season, Bales has not allowed a run and struck out 22 batters. He entered the weekend tied for the ACC lead in relief appearances and pitched in his 10th game this afternoon.

The second game of the three-game set will take place on Sunday (March 21) at 1 p.m. The Cavaliers will have Griff McGarry on the mound and he will be opposed by righty Matt Gilbertson. The game will be carried live on ACCNX and can be heard on WINA (98.9 FM/1070AM) or anywhere on WINA.com

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