Augusta Free Press

Baseball: No. 14 UVA falls to Old Dominion, 5-4

Old Dominion scored five runs over the final two innings to rally and top the No. 14 UVA baseball team, 5-4, Wednesday at Davenport Field. Virginia dropped to 17-9, while ODU upped its record to 19-7.

“We’re disappointed to lose the ballgame,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We had two double play balls (in the eighth inning) and didn’t turn them. If we turn a double play there it’s a 3-2 ballgame. Unfortunately we did not have enough to overcome it.”

Both teams finished with nine hits. Matt Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.) and Daniel Pinero (Jr., Toronto, Ontario) each had a pair of hits for UVA, while Doak Dozier (Fr., Fort Worth, Texas) hit a solo home run.

Alec Bettinger (Jr., Woodbridge, Va.) took the loss for UVA and dropped to 0-4 on the year after giving up the go-ahead run in the ninth inning. Grayson Bailey (2-0) pitched the eighth for ODU to earn the win, while Brett Smith stranded a runner at first in the ninth to claim his first save.

Making his first midweek start, Virginia left-hander Daniel Lynch (Henrico, Va.) worked five shutout innings and gave just two hits while striking out four and retiring the final 12 batters he faced. He did not walk a batter. ODU starter Adam Bainbridge pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing two earned runs, four hits and a walk while striking out a pair.

Virginia took advantage of a two-out wild pitch to score a pair of runs in the third inning. After Ernie Clement (So., Rochester, N.Y.) reached base on a wild pitch on a swinging third strike, Thaiss followed with a single to right-center. Pavin Smith (So., Jupiter, Fla.) lined a double to left-center to score both runners for a 2-0 lead.

Dozier hit a solo home run into the right-field bleachers on a 3-2 pitch with two outs in the sixth to push the UVA lead to 3-0.

UVA pitchers combined to retire 17 ODU batters in a row from the second through seventh innings, but Old Dominion stormed back by scoring four runs in the eighth inning while taking advantage of two key Virginia errors.

After the first two batters reached against Kevin Doherty (Sr., Laytonsville, Md.), pinch hitter Kyle Beam singled to center to score a pair. Connor Myers beat out the relay end of a potential double-play ball as part of the first out, and Zach Rutherford followed with a potential double-play ball to second base, but the ball scooted under the glove of Clement. Myers moved to third when Adam Haseley (So., Winderemere, Fla.) misplayed the ball in center. Bettinger entered and gave up a sac fly to Nick Walker before Seth Woodard lined an RBI double to left for a 4-3 lead.

UVA came back to tie the game in the bottom of the inning. Pinero hit a leadoff single and moved to second on a Ryan Karstetter (Fr., State College, Pa.) sacrifice. With two out and an 0-2 count, Jack Gerstenmaier (So., Richmond, Va.) lined an RBI single to left-center.

ODU answered in the ninth inning on two-out RBI single to left field from Myers, scoring Nick Lustino from third base.

Virginia plays host to No. 23 NC State this weekend (Friday through Sunday) in a three-game ACC series. Game times are 6 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, 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.