#21 Virginia walks off Boston College, takes weekend series

uva baseballNo. 21 Virginia (12-7, 3-3 ACC) scored three runs in the bottom of the 10th inning as part of a 10-9 series-clinching victory over Boston College (7-10, 2-4 ACC) at Disharoon Park.

Charlie Cody (Chesapeake, Va.) delivered the game-winning RBI with a sacrifice fly to right field that allowed Justin Novak (Tokyo, Japan) to score easily from third base. Cody has been at the plate for two of the four walk-off victories for Virginia this season.

After making a throwing error with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning that allowed Boston College to tie the game at seven, junior Andy Weber (Aurora, Ohio) redeemed himself at the plate by tying the game in the 10th with a two-RBI single that scored freshmen Tanner Morris (Crozet, Va.) and Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.). The single capped a three-hit day for Weber, his second of the series.

“I’ll say that is a signature win for us at this point,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “For us to comeback and find a way to win in the bottom of the 10th after being a play away from winning the ball game (in the ninth), our guys showed a lot of fight and that’s what it’s about right now.”

The game was the third extra inning contest of the season for Virginia and took four hours and 53 minutes to complete, tied for the fourth longest in program history.

The game-winning rally in the 10th was the second deficit Virginia had to overcome in the contest. Boston College built a 6-3 lead by scoring six-straight runs between fourth and sixth innings.

Virginia answered by plating four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the second-straight day it put together a big seventh inning rally. Freshmen Brendan Rivoli (Douglasville, Pa.) was one of eight Cavaliers to bat in the frame and he delivered a two-out, two-RBI double to pull Virginia within a run. The at bat for Rivoli was the first of the series and first since last Saturday (March 10) vs. Duke.

A batter later, Morris followed up with a double down the left field line to give the Cavaliers their first lead since the third inning. With a career-high three hits in the finale, Morris finished the series 6-for-11 with three runs scored and three RBI.

Three Virginia pitchers, Evan Sperling (Poquoson, Va.), Bennett Sousa (North Palm Beach, Fla.) and Andrew Abbott (Halifax, Va.), combined for 13 strikeouts in 10 innings pitched. Sperling, who made his fifth start, fanned five in 3.2 innings, his shortest outing of the season.

Abbott came on in relief of Sousa in the top of the seventh and escaped a bases loaded jam to get Virginia out of the frame unscathed. He earned the save in Saturday night’s win and was credited with the win in today’s game. Abbott struck out five batters including the last two he faced after surrendering a go-ahead home run in the top of the 10th.

Freshman Alex Tappen (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) put forth his sixth multi-hit effort by going 3-for-5 with a run scored.

Virginia will wrap up its home stand this week with a midweek series against Towson on Tuesday (March 20) and Wednesday (March 21). Both games are scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at Disharoon Park.

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The book, with additional reporting by Scott Ratcliffe and Zach Pereles, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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