Home Live Coverage: UVA defeats Penn, 4-2, in opening game of Charlottesville Regional

Live Coverage: UVA defeats Penn, 4-2, in opening game of Charlottesville Regional

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

Virginia (41-15, RPI: 12) opens the 2024 Charlottesville Regional with Penn (24-23, RPI: 180) at Disharoon Park, with the first pitch just after noon on Friday.

Follow along with AFP editor Chris Graham with inning-by-inning updates and analysis.

First bit of news: Brian O’Connor has decided to go with his #2 starter, Joe Savino (2-2, 3.18 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 15Ks/9BBs in 22.2 IP) as the starting pitcher today.

I’d written a column earlier in the week advocating for him going with a staff day led by Jay Woolfolk (2-1, 6.85 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 50Ks/34BBs in 44.2 IP) and Owen Coady (1-1, 5.94 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 29Ks/22BBs in 33.1 IP) to save Savino for Sunday.

My idea there being, you need to win at least three games to get to next weekend, and I’d think you’d rather have Savino for the possible clincher than a staff day.

I still think I’m right on that.

Both teams go down in order in the first. Savino needed 19 pitches to get through the top of the first. Penn’s starter, Cole Zaffiro, only needed eight.

Henry Godbout took a 2-0 middle-middle fastball out to the ‘Hoo Zone in left. The three-run shot puts UVA up, 3-0, after two.

Godbout had good plate discipline in the AB. Zaffiro threw him two low-and-away sliders, which Godbout was able to lay off, to get the count advantage.

In the PA prior, Harrison Didawick worked a walk on the eighth pitch from Zaffiro.

Henry Ford had led the inning off with a sharp single to right.

Savino is at 37 pitches through two.

Nothing doing for either side in the third. Savino’s season-high pitch count is 83: he’s at 53 today through three.

Penn, second time through the order, figured some things out with Savino, who retired the first nine batters in order.

A one-out RBI double from Davis Baker scored Connor Chavez from second to get the Quakers on the board.

Chavez had led off the fourth with a sharp single to center, then stole second.

Nick Spaventa followed with a two-out single to center to score Baker.

It took Savino 25 pitches to get out of the fourth, so he’s at 78 pitches now through four.

Virginia, in its half of the fourth, left the bases loaded, with Bobby Whalen lining out to right with two outs to end the threat.

Savino worked a quick top of the fifth, getting out of the inning on just nine pitches.

In the bottom half, Virginia put runners on first and second with one out and the middle of the order coming up.

Ford grounded into a 6-4-3 double play on the first pitch of the AB.

Savino went a season-high 97 pitches and five and two-thirds innings. O’Connor came out to get him after a two-out walk to Baker.

Chase Hungate (7-1, 4.23 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 32Ks/13BBs in 44.2 IP) is in for UVA.

Hungate got Ryan Taylor to fly out to the track in left-center to end the inning.

Close the book on Savino: 5.2 IP, two runs, three hits, eight strikeouts, one walk, 97 pitches, 68 for strikes.

Virginia had two on with nobody out, but Godbout popped up a bunt for out #1, Eric Becker struck out, and Whalen was retired on a sharp grounder to second.

UVA is now 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and 1-for-9 with runners on base.

Quick 1-2-3 top of the seventh for Hungate, who only needed six pitches.

Still tight here: 3-2 UVA, as the fans stretch.

Ethan Anderson puts on some insurance with an RBI double that scored Griff O’Ferrall.

But then Didawick struck out with runners on second and third with a chance to add more.

End 7: UVA 4, Penn 2.

Hungate pitched around a leadoff single in the top of the eighth, and significantly, got through Wyatt Henseler, the big bat in the middle of the Penn lineup (22 HRs), striking him out to end the inning.

Virginia left two more in scoring position, with O’Ferrall popping up to first, and Anderson grounding out to second.

End 8: UVA 4, Penn 2.

Hungate closes things out with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Hungate gets the three and a third inning save, allowing one hit, striking out three.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," 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].