Home Baseball: #8 Virginia blows late lead, drops series finale at #11 Duke, 7-4

Baseball: #8 Virginia blows late lead, drops series finale at #11 Duke, 7-4

Chris Graham
(© Todd Taulman – stock.adobe.com)

Duke beat up the Virginia bullpen in a five-run seventh that proved decisive in a 7-4 Blue Devils’ win on Saturday.

#11 Duke (20-8, 6-6 ACC) took the weekend series with the win over the eighth-ranked ‘Hoos (22-6, 7-5 ACC).

The bullpen issue wasted a nice start from Kevin Jaxel (4-0, 6.66 ERA), who limited Duke to two runs on three hits in five innings of work, striking out four and walking two.

Virginia took a 3-2 lead in the seventh on a two-out RBI double from freshman Henry Ford (.353, 7 HR, 36 RBI).

Jay Woolfolk (1-1, 8.14 ERA) walked Wallace Clark on a 3-2 pitch, then surrendered a double Devin Obee to put runners on second and third with nobody out in Duke’s half of the seventy.

Angelo Tonas (0-0, 4.02 ERA) relieved Woolfolk, and surrendered a go-ahead two-run single to Duke DH Chad Knight, who was thrown out behind the play on the relay throw from the outfield.

Zac Morris and Ben Miller followed with singles, and a wild pickoff throw moved the two up 90 feet, ahead of an intentional walk to AJ Garcia.

A Logan Bravo fielder’s choice scored one run, and a two-run single off the bat of Tyler Albright made it 7-3 Duke, before UVA coach Brian O’Connor brought in Matt Augustin (1-0, 3.00 ERA), who was able to shut the door on the inning.

The Cavaliers got a run back in the eighth on an RBI single from Luke Hanson (.279, 2 HR, 17 RBI), and Virginia had two on and one out with two chances with the tying man at the plate, but Griff O’Ferrall (.319, 3 HR, 28 RBI) flied out to left, and Anthony Stephan (.286, 0 HR, 15 RBI) popped up a 2-0 pitch to short to end the threat.

Virginia, in the ninth, got a leadoff single from Casey Saucke (.398, 7 HR, 33 RBI), but that would be it.

UVA returns to action on Tuesday for the opening game of a six-game homestand with ODU (15-12) coming to town for a 6 p.m. first pitch.

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].