Baseball: Virginia drops mid-week contest to VCU, losing streak at three
After falling behind 3-0 in the first inning, the Cavaliers (17-18) chipped away at the deficit and were within a run on two different occasions. VCU (22-14) added a timely insurance run in the sixth on a solo home run by Hunter Vay and another in the ninth, scoring on a Cavalier throwing error.
The Cavaliers scored all three of their runs on RBI doubles. Virginia got on the board in the second with a two-base hit by Logan Michaels that scored Nic Kent from first base. Kent scored again in the fifth on a double by Zack Gelof that made the score 3-2 in favor of the Rams.
The final UVA run of the night came off the bat of Brendan Rivoli, who doubled home Max Cotier and made it a one-run game in the top of the eighth.
Rivoli advanced to third on an error with one out but was ultimately left stranded as VCU relievers Edwin Serrano and Tyler Davis combined to get the final two outs of the inning.
The Cavaliers left a runner in scoring position in the fifth, seventh and eighth innings.
Rivoli finished with his team-leading 14th multi-hit game of the season with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate. Kent reached in all four plate appearances and was 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and a stolen base.
After starting pitcher Griff McGarry struggled in the first inning, junior Zach Messinger allowed an inherited runner to score, but retired the final three batters to limit the VCU damage.
Messinger went on to have the most productive outing by a Virginia reliever this season. He struck out a career-high 10 batters over 4.1 scoreless innings, his longest outing as a Cavalier. Beginning in the second, Messinger sat down 10 of the final 12 batters he faced.
The 10-strikeout performance was the third time this season a Virginia pitcher has recorded double-digit strikeouts, both other occasions belong to Andrew Abbott.
Including Messinger, four Cavalier relievers combined to allow just one earned run and struck out 15 batters over eight innings of work.
Virginia returns to ACC play this weekend when it hosts Duke at Disharoon Park. The three-game series is scheduled to begin Friday with first pitch in the opener set for 6 p.m.