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Baseball: Virginia rallies from 7-1 deficit, defeats #7 Louisville in 10 innings, 8-7

uva athleticsVirginia trailed #7 Louisville 7-1 in the fifth, but rallied to send the game to extras, then walked off the Cardinals to take Game 1 of the weekend set, 8-7, on Friday night.

UVA (17-15, 9-13 ACC) tied the game in the bottom of the ninth on a solo homer from senior Devin Ortiz leading off the bottom of the ninth.

The home run was Ortiz’s team-leading fifth of the year and put an exclamation point on his first three-hit game of his Cavalier career.

Ortiz finished the day 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI.

That set the stage for the bottom of the 10th, when Logan Michaels came around to score from second after a ground ball off the bat of Brendan Rivoli went under the glove of the Louisville second baseman.

The opportunity for Rivoli was made possible by Zack Gelof, who earned a walk in the at bat prior after being down 0-2 in the count and ultimately won a nine-pitch battle against Cardinal reliever Adam Elliott.

“Overall, really proud of our club tonight,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said.  “Louisville has an excellent team and can beat you in a number of different ways. They were up 7-1 on us, and that five-run inning in the fifth was a great response. We were the home team, and I felt confident that we’d be able to get another run or two in the back half of the game. I’m just really proud of our fight.”

The game-changing rally for UVA in the fifth featured six Cavalier hits, and a total of nine batters came to the plate. After an Ortiz single to make it 7-2, Virginia rattled off three-straight two-out RBI hits and pulled within a run on a double by Chris Newell that scored two runs.

Virginia scored five of its eight runs on the night with two outs.

On the mound, Blake Bales continued his unprecedented success out of the bullpen by pitching 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. The righthander stranded an inherited runner in the sixth and pitched himself out of a jam in the seventh where Louisville had runners at the corners with nobody out.

He stranded two more Cardinal runners in the eighth and kept the game at 7-6.

Bales has not allowed a run in 29.1 inning pitched this season.

Closer Stephen Schoch faced just seven batters in his two innings of work and recorded his first win of the 2021 season.

Starting pitcher Andrew Abbott struck out 11 batters but surrendered six earned runs on the night. Home runs by Dalton Rushing and Alex Binelas accounted for five of the seven Louisville (20-11, 12-6 ACC) runs.

Abbott sits at 242 strikeouts for his career and moved from 11th to ninth place all-time on UVA’s career strikeout list.

The Cavaliers have the chance to clinch the series on Saturday with the middle game of a three-game series that is scheduled for 4 p.m. The Cavaliers will have Mike Vasil (5-2) on the mound, and he will be opposed by lefty Luke Seed (0-0).

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