#18 Virginia evens series with Eastern Kentucky

uva baseballBehind a standout performance by starting pitcher Derek Casey (Mechanicsville, Va.), No. 18 Virginia evened the series with a 12-3 victory over Eastern Kentucky (1-5). The Cavaliers scored in all but two turns at the plate and racked up a season-high 15 hits.

Casey struck out a career-high 12 batters and was dominant from the start. He retired the first eight batters of the game and struck out nine through the first four frames. Between the third and fifth innings, he fanned five straight batters and struck out the side on two different occasions

“Derek Casey was fantastic today,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “He was in complete control from the start and pitched like a veteran. This is the second weekend in a row after a loss he’s come out and pitched really well for us, that’s what you want your experienced guys to go out and do.”

Casey scattered five hits and allowed only one earned run in the contest. He improved to 2-0 on the season and has now won five of his last seven starts.

For the second-straight day, the Cavalier offense registered double-digit hits. Virginia jumped out to a 5-0 lead and scored four runs in the first two innings.

Five players, including Andy Weber (Aurora, Ohio), recorded multiple-hit games. Weber belted his first home run of the spring, a three-run shot over the right field wall in the bottom of the sixth to make the score 9-1. The junior went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a career-high five RBIs. He has now hit safely in 10-straight games dating back to last season.

Freshman Tanner Morris (Crozet, Va.) made his first start at shortstop and reached base five times. He went 2-for-2 with three walks and two runs scored. He drove in the game’s third run, plating Cameron Comer (Powell, Ohio) in the bottom of the second inning.

Comer, Jake McCarthy (Scranton, Pa.) and Nate Eikhoff (Bristow, Va.) each collected two hits in the contest. McCarthy scored twice and stole his second bag of the season. Eikhoff recorded his team-best, third extra-base hit of the year, an RBI double in the bottom of the first inning.

Bobby Nicholson (Charlottesville, Va.) and Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.) combined to toss two scoreless innings in relief and both made their season debuts on the mound.

The rubber game between Eastern Kentucky and Virginia is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday (Feb. 25). The Cavaliers will send right-hander Evan Sperling (1-0) to the hill and he will be opposed by righty Kaven Brown (0-0).