No. 20 Virginia holds off VMI for third straight win

uva baseballNo. 20 Virginia (5-3) won its third-straight game, outlasting VMI, 10-9 at Davenport Field. The Keydets had a furious comeback halted by closer Bennett Sousa (North Palm Beach, Fla.) who recorded his second save of the season.

After Virginia jumped out to a 10-1 lead, VMI (5-3) scored the game’s final eight runs, including three in the top of the seventh to pull within one. Sousa had a leadoff runner on in the top of the eighth and the top of the ninth but did not allow another baserunner in each frame. He faced a total of eight batters and struck out a pair for the six-out save.

“This is a learning process, every team is different and this team is still learning how to win,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “However a win happens, we’ll take it but I was proud of our guys and I was proud of Bennett Sousa who pitched well for us after last Friday night.”

The Cavaliers flipped the script on VMI who scored the game’s first seven runs in last Tuesday’s matchup. Virginia scored the first eight runs over the first three innings today, including a five-run first frame. The Cavaliers sent nine batters to the plate in each of the first two innings.

Virginia did all its damage in the first inning with two outs. Junior Nate Eikhoff (Bristow, Va.) and Charlie Cody (Chesapeake, Va.) delivered two-RBI hits to make the score 4-0. Freshman Tanner Morris (Crozet, Va.) capped the inning with his fourth RBI of the season, a chopped single down the left field line that scored Cody from second.

Senior Caleb Knight (Checotah, Okla.) broke the game open in the top of the second with a three-run homer over the left field wall. The long ball was his second of the season and gave Virginia an 8-1 advantage. Knight reached based three times and drove in a career-high four runs.

Sophomore Cayman Richardson (Mechanicsville, Va.) made his first start of the season at third base and delivered on both sides of the ball. He recorded a hit in each of his first three at bats and scored two runs in the contest. His three hits on the day were a career-high.

Virginia starting pitcher Andrew Abbott (Halifax, Va.) made his first collegiate start after working 4.1 innings of relief over two appearances. The first-year lefty held the Keydets to one run over the first three innings and struck out the side in the second inning. He exited prior to the fifth inning after surrendering three runs on three hits in the fourth.

Virginia will be back at home on Wednesday (Feb. 27) for a midweek matchup against William & Mary. The Cavaliers will send righty Bobby Nicholson to the mound and he will be opposed by right-hander Chris Farrell. First pitch at Davenport Field is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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