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Game Notes: Virginia set to open Super Regionals on Saturday

uva athleticsVirginia and Dallas Baptist will open their best-of-three Super Regionals series on Saturday at noon in Founders Park in Columbia, S.C.

Game 1 and Game 3 (if necessary) are slated to air ESPNU. Sunday’s television designation has yet to be announced, but the game will be on either ESPN2 or ESPNU.

Game 1 starting pitchers

  • Dallas Baptist: RHP Dominic Hamel (13-2, 3.95 ERA, 86.2 IP, 31, 129 SO)
  • Virginia: LHP Andrew Abbott (8-6, 2.82 ERA, 95.2 IP, 29 BB, 144 SO)

Columbia Regional Notes

  • The Cavaliers did not get a quality start from any of its five starting pitchers on the weekend. Virginia’s starting pitchers for the final three games of the regional combined for six starts in 2021 including the first career start for Devin Ortiz in the regional championship game on Tuesday. Those three pitchers – Griff McGarry, Matt Wyatt and Ortiz – combined for 12.1 innings, three runs allowed and 22 strikeouts.
  • The walk-off home run by Devin Ortiz in the regional final came after four shutout innings on the mound. It was the first walk-off home run in UVA postseason history and the first walk-off homer for Virginia since 2013.
  • Virginia set a school record with 24 strikeouts against Old Dominion in the nightcap on Sunday to force a decisive seventh game. The 24-strikeout performance was only the third time in NCAA baseball history a team has struck out 24 or more in a nine-inning game. The last time a team struck out 24 or more batters was back in 1992 when Auburn struck out 25 against Arkansas. The only other occurrence was in 1971 when Miami (OH) totaled 26 against Wright State, an NCAA nine-inning record.

Pitching staff

  • Andrew Abbott was named a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award this week, the ninth semifinalist in program history, the fourth-most of any college baseball program. UVA has been represented in eight different years, tied for the third-most in the NCAA.
  • Abbott had his 31-inning scoreless streak snapped in the regional opening game against South Carolina thanks to a Wes Clarke first inning, opposite field home run. The lefthander pitched 5.2 innings and left with the game tied with the go-ahead runner on second base. After the home run Abbott retired 13 out of the next 14 batters including 10-straight after the Clark long ball.
  • Abbott enters the weekend with 144 strikeouts, tied for the second most in the country. The 144 Ks are the third most in a single season in UVA history and two behind Tim Burcham’s 146 in 1985.
  • Abbott has the lowest ERA (2.82) in the ACC among qualified pitchers and is tops in the league in strikeouts this season. He ranks second in wins (8) and second in innings pitched 95.2. He’s looking to become the first Cavalier pitcher to eclipse the 100 innings mark since Connor Jones pitched 103.2 in 2016.
  • Reliever Blake Bales is one of 10 finalists for the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Award. He’s one of three Virginia players ever to be a finalist for the award and the first since Branden Kline in 2011. Both Kline and Kevin Arico, a 2009 finalist, are in UVA’s Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Closer Stephen Schoch moved into a tie for ninth place all-time on Virginia’s career saves list after closing out South Carolina in an elimination game on Sunday. He tossed 2.1 shutout innings and struck out five for his eighth save of the year. It marked the fifth time that he registered a save pitching more than one inning.

Offense

  • Freshman Kyle Teel comes into the weekend riding a 20-game reached base streak the longest by a Cavalier this season and longest since Zack Gelof started off his career reaching in 28-straight games in 2019.
  • Zack Gelof and his brother Jake each homered in the regional opener against South Carolina. It marked the second time three games the duo homered in the same game. Jake Gelof went on to hit two home runs in the regional including a 415-foot blast against Jacksonville.
  • Zack Gelof became the fifth player in UVA postseason history too have four hits in a postseason game after going 4-for-5 with two runs scored.
  • Alex Tappen has the team’s longest active hit streak at 13 games, one shy of the longest by a Cavalier this season. He has kept the streak alive despite not starting in five of the 13 games.
  • Entering play on Friday, April 1, down in Atlanta, Virginia was 11-13 overall, 4-11 in the ACC, and had a team hitting slash line of .226/.318/.329, averaging 4.6 runs per game, and had 11 homers in the season-opening 24 games. Since April 1, the ‘Hoos have a slash line of .290/.381/.427, are averaging 6.6 runs per game, and the team has hit 31 homers in its last 33 games.
  • In the regional, UVA had a slash line of .291/.367/.457 and averaged 6.2 runs per game.

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