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Virginia walks off William & Mary, 7-6, in 12 innings

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

uva baseballVirginia came back from two runs down in the ninth to tie and walked off with a 7-6 victory over William & Mary on sacrifice fly in the 12th inning from Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) on Tuesday at Disharoon Park. The Cavaliers are winners of three-straight games and recorded their first walk-off win since 2018.

The Cavaliers (14-14) led 4-3 going into the ninth before Matt McDermott hit a three-run, opposite-field home run that bounced off the top of the right field wall and instantly gave the Tribe (6-14) a 6-4 lead. McDermott finished the day 3-for-5 with four RBI and two runs scored.

Virginia answered in the bottom half with one swing of the bat from Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.). After Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) walked and Brendan Rivoli (Douglassville, Pa.) singled to right with one out, Ortiz drove a 2-2 pitch into the left-field gap that plated both runners. The double extended Ortiz’s hit streak to eight games.

The Cavaliers converted their opportunity to win it in the 12th when a pair of William & Mary relievers combined to walk the first three batters of the inning to set the stage for Gelof. The Tribe brought an extra infielder to try and cut down the game-winning run but it didn’t matter after Gelof sailed a 1-0 pitch to deep center that allowed Max Cotier (New Milford, Conn.) to score uncontested from third.

Gelof was 3-for-6 with three RBI and one of four Cavalier multi-hit performers.

“I’m just proud of our guys, we hung in there,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We had the right guy (Stephen Schoch) in there in the ninth. I credit (Matt) McDermott. He’s been tough on us for two years, he had a home run against us last year. I tip my cap to him. In the first half of the game, we had many opportunities to break the game open. I knew that William & Mary wouldn’t go away, they are always very aggressive offensive team. We just couldn’t tack on those extra runs to make it more than a four run or 4-2 lead.”

The Tribe put a runner in scoring position in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings but the combination of Stephen Schoch (Laurel, Md.), Luke Schauer (Washington, D.C.) and Matt Wyatt (Towson, Md.) kept William and Mary off the scoreboard in all three extra frames.

If not for an outfield assist by Alex Tappen (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) in the 10th and a diving stop on a short hop by Cotier at second base in the 11th, William and Mary would have scored the go-ahead runs.

Wyatt was credited with his second win of the year after getting the final four outs of the contest. He allowed one hit and struck out one in his first appearance since March 24.

Virginia jumped out to a 4-0 lead over the first three innings. Two runs came on a two-out, two-RBI single by Gelof that capped a three-run rally in the second frame. Sophomore Tate Ballestero (Morristown, N.J.) made it a four-run UVA advantage with a run-scoring single to right in the third. He had a hit in his first two at bats and the RBI was his first of the season.

After a total of three runs came across between the fourth and fifth innings, Virginia righthander Blake Bales (Schoolcraft, Mich.) shut the door of the next three innings. He inherited two runners with no outs in the sixth and got the next three Tribe batters out to end the threat. He finished with four strikeouts in three innings of work, his second-longest outing of the season. He has yet to allow a run in 22.1 innings pitched in 2021.

The Cavaliers will continue ACC play this weekend with a three-game series at Clemson beginning Friday (April 9) at 6 p.m. The first two games of the series will air on ACC Network and includes an 8 p.m. start on Saturday (April 10) for the middle game. The series finale will air on ESPN2 with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. on Sunday (April 11).

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