Virginia wins 7th straight, hands No. 7 NC State first loss, 7-3

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Cavalier first baseman Devin Ortiz (7) and shortstop Nic Kent (4) celebrate during Virginia’s 7-3 win over No. 7 NC State in the ACC opener Friday (Photo: UVA Athletics).

Virginia opened up Atlantic Coast Conference play on Friday evening with a 7-3 win over previously unbeaten and seventh-ranked NC State at Disharoon Park. The Cavaliers are now winners of seven straight games and improve to 10-1 on their current 15-game home stand.

The Cavaliers (11-3, 1-0 ACC) got another offensive jolt off the bat of Jimmy Sullivan, who hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the second inning to extend the UVA lead to 3-0. The sophomore has homered in back-to-back contests, and three times in his last four games. Sullivan went 1 for 3 with two runs scored and two RBI in the win.

The Cavalier pitching staff held NC State (12-1, 0-1) to its lowest offensive output of the season. The Wolfpack came into the weekend ranked first in the country in batting average and appeared in the top 10 in the nation in scoring, runs and hits. Virginia pitchers worked of bases loaded jams in the first, second and ninth innings, stranding a total of 17 Wolfpack runners.

The quartet of Griff McGarry, Blake Bales, Andrew Abbott and Stephen Schoch combined to strikeout 15 batters, the second highest single-game total of the season. It marked the 11th time Virginia pitchers have struck out 10 or more batters in a game.

Bales was credited with his second win of the week and third of the season after taking over in the fifth. He struck out three batters in 1.2 innings and stranded two runners in his first inning of work by striking out the final two Wolfpack hitters.

Schoch recorded the five-out save and induced the game-ending lineout in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded. The save was his fifth of the season. McGarry and Abbott each struck out five batters and allowed a run.

“I hope that we’re starting to show that we have a resilient group that will bounce back when things don’t go your way,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “I think that’s one of the best qualities you can have as a baseball player, whether it’s an at bat, a pitch or play that doesn’t go your way you have another opportunity in this game and have another chance to bounce back. We certainly showed that tonight as a ball club.”

The Cavaliers had an answer for all three of NC State’s runs, including a two-run rally in the sixth gave them a four-run lead. Zack Gelof capped the inning with a sacrifice fly to right field that score Nic Kent. Gelof reached base three times and scored on a wild pitch in the third inning. Kent put together his fifth multi-hit performance with a 2-for-4 day at the plate.

The series continues on Saturday with the middle game of a three-game set. Virginia will send right-hander Mike Vasil (2-0) to the mound and he will be opposed by Nick Swiney (3-0). First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

Box Score

Additional Notes

  • Virginia has won the first game of the weekend in each of the first four weeks of the season.
  • The Cavaliers handed NC State their second loss of the 2019 season after a 23-1 start in the opening game of last year’s series in Raleigh.
  • Seven of the nine Virginia hitters were credited with a hit in the contest.
  • Marc Lebreux and Logan Michaels both extended their team-best hit streaks to seven games.
  • Virginia’s seven-game win streak is the second-longest among ACC teams (Louisville-8).
  • The game featured a combined 16 walks and five hit by pitches.
  • NC State did not reach double-digit hits for only the third time this season.

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