Home Evan Blanco shines for #9 Virginia in 21-3 series-opening win at Louisville

Evan Blanco shines for #9 Virginia in 21-3 series-opening win at Louisville

Chris Graham

uva logo blue Ninth-ranked Virginia scored 21 runs, sure, but to me, the bigger thing to the blowout win at Louisville in Friday’s series opener was the outing from starting pitcher Evan Blanco.

Blanco (3-1, 3.94 ERA), a sophomore, struck out 11 batters in six innings, allowing three runs on six hits, in the win.

This was on the heels of Blanco shutting down #14 North Carolina in a 7-2 win at The Dish last weekend, giving up two runs on six hits, striking out seven and walking one batter.

The bullpen – Chase Hungate (3-0, 3.86 ERA) and Patric Menk (0-0, 0.00 ERA) – had totally clean sheets, three 1-2-3 innings, no strikeouts, no walks, no nuthin.

Now, to the offense: Henry Ford (.379/.461/.721, 12 HRs, 46 RBIs) and Jacob Ference (.421/.517/.853, 9 HRs, 24 RBIs) each went deep twice, and Eric Becker (.333/.419/.500, 2 HRs, 19 RBIs) also homered for Virginia (27-7, 10-6 ACC).

Saturday’s Game 2 is back to reality on the mound. Brian O’Connor sends Kevin Jaxel (4-0, 9.13 ERA) out for his fourth start of the season.

Jaxel has one win as a starter in ACC games, giving up a run on two hits in an 8-2 win at Pitt back on March 24, but his last start, last weekend against UNC, was a disaster – he gave up six runs on seven hits in two innings of work in the 12-7 loss.

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].