Home #12 Virginia emphatically evens series with 16-7 win over #10 Louisville
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#12 Virginia emphatically evens series with 16-7 win over #10 Louisville

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Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

#12 Virginia jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and didn’t look back in a 16-7 win over #10 Louisville on Friday, evening the teams’ weekend series at a game apiece.

The Cavaliers (38-14, 17-12 ACC) batted around twice in the contest, first in the third inning and again in the fifth.

The Devin Ortiz three-run home run in the third inning was the 68th by Virginia this season, breaking the school record previously set by the 1988 team.

Casey Saucke and Alex Tappen each put together four-hit efforts in the contest. It was Saucke’s first four-hit game as he finished a triple short of the cycle and drove in three runs.

“It was good that we got a little bit of separation just because wind was blowing out and we know Louisville has a great team,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said.

UVA never trailed and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Tappen, the third batter of the game, singled to center and plated Griff O’Ferrall. With two outs, Saucke punched a ball through the right side that scored classmate Justin Rubin.

Ortiz’s homer in the third inning broke the game open and made it 5-0. The home run traveled 456 feet and was his sixth long ball of the season.

Virginia tacked on two more runs in the third on RBI singles from Chris Newell and Rubin.

After Louisville scored three runs in the fourth, Virginia put the game out of reach by sending nine batters to the plate in the fifth. First years Saucke and Ethan Anderson hit back-to-back home runs in the frame, the fourth time this season UVA has homered in consecutive at bats.

Sophomore Jake Gelof got in on the action later in the inning with a three-run over off the batter’s eye in straightaway centerfield. The homer was his 19th of the season and RBI No. 72, 73 and 74. He is three RBI shy of matching Pavin Smith’s school record of 77 set during the 2017 season.

Starting pitcher Nate Savino bounced back from his shortest out of the season last week and delivered five innings in which he allowed only one earned run. The lefthander struck out three batters and picked up his fifth win of the season.

“Savino was really, really good,” O’Connor said. “The wind was blowing out 20 miles an hour, the ball flies out of here on a hot day like today. His hard fastball down in the zone certainly served him well.”

The final game of the regular season for Virginia and Louisville will have ACC Tournament seeding implications. Virginia will have lefthander Jake Berry (5-2) on the mound. The Cardinals have yet to announce a starting pitcher. Saturday’s finale will air live on ACC Network at noon.

“It’s two great teams coming down to the final game of the regular season tomorrow to win the series, so certainly is a lot at stake and our guys are excited. We look forward to get back out here tomorrow and playing good baseball,” O’Connor said.

Story by Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].