Baseball: Bats erupt for #2 UVA in 14-5 win over VMI
VMI jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but #2 Virginia responded, in a big way, to post a 14-5 win over the Keydets on Tuesday at Disharoon Park.
Redshirt freshman catcher Justin Starke gave VMI a 1-0 lead in the second frame with a solo homer to right field. Freshman centerfielder Ty Swaim lifted a two-run, two-out single to bring home Zac Morris and Callen Nuccio and put the Keydets ahead 3-0 later in the inning.
UVA (3-1) responded with four in the bottom half of the second, a pair of runs in the third, and then sophomore Chris Newell broke the game open with a grand slam in the sixth inning, part of a five-run frame for the Cavaliers.
Newell barreled an 0-2 pitch off the blue monster in center field to put the Cavaliers up 12-3 in the seventh inning.
Newell finished the day 2-for-5 with a double, home run, two runs scored and four RBI.
Junior Zack Gelof also provided some firepower with his first home run of the season in the eighth. He rocketed a ball over the left center field wall, a solo shot to make the score 13-3.
Gelof went 3-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI in the contest and is now batting a club-best .467 through four games.
“It was nice to see our offensive club come alive today,” UVA coach Brian O’Connor said. “It was encouraging to see those guys take some pretty good passes and get some extra base hits. Playing four games at home to open up this season was nice and now we get a chance to start our ACC play on the road at North Carolina the day after tomorrow.”
The Cavalier pitching staff came into the game tops in the ACC and 10th in the NCAA in strikeouts with 41. Eight different pitchers added 18 strikeouts to that total, the most in a game since fanning 19 against Yale on March 3, 2018.
Starting pitcher Nate Savino allowed one earned run and pitched into the fourth inning and was lifted after a leadoff single. The lefty struck out five batters, a new career-high, while walking only one in a no-decision.
Making his third appearance the season, reliever Blake Bales was credited with his fifth career win after he struck out three of the four batters he faced in the fourth inning.
Matt Wyatt, Luke Schauer and Zach Messinger combined to throw the next five innings of shutout out baseball.
Senior Brendan Rivoli, Logan Michaels and Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) rounded out the five multi-hit games by Virginia hitters.
For Kent, the 2-for-4 performance at the plate marked his third-straight two-hit effort. Michaels reached base four times and scored a career-high four runs 2-for-2 day at the plate.
The Keydets scored two in the top of the ninth on a single by Nuccio, who was 2-for-5 on the day.
Starke finished 2-2 with three walks on the day for the Keydets (0-1).