The No. 9 Virginia baseball team evened its series at Georgia Tech with a 16-3 win Friday night at Russ Chandler Stadium. Virginia (40-13, 17-12 ACC) reached the 40-win plateau for the 11th time in head coach Brian O’Connor’s 14 seasons at the helm of the program.
“We’re very proud of our guys to win 40 games in the regular season,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “That’s something every college baseball team aims for every year, and it’s hard to do and very few of them do it. It’s a testament to our guys being ready to play every day.
“I thought tonight we bounced back great. Derek Casey was tremendous tonight. I thought he had his best outing of the year. He gave up a couple of home runs, which you can do pretty easily in this ballpark. He fought and battled and did a great job of giving us seven innings, and certainly we exploded offensively as well.”
Virginia’s offense piled up 19 hits in the win. Jake McCarthy (So., Scranton, Pa.) went 4-for-6 and scored three runs in his first career four-hit game. Robbie Coman (Gr., Lake Worth, Fla.) and Cameron Simmons (So., Royersford, Pa.) each added three hits. Pavin Smith (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) added four RBI and with 65 RBI this year is two shy of the single-season school record.
Virginia starter Derek Casey (Jr., Mechanicsville, Va.) matched a career high by working seven strong innings to earn the win. Casey (4-1) allowed three earned runs, three hits and three walks while striking out eight in a quality start. He retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced. Riley Wilson (Jr., Midlothian, Va.) worked two scoreless innings to close out the win.
Georgia Tech starter Keyton Gibson (2-3) took the loss after allowing nine runs (eight earned), five hits and four walks in 1 1/3 innings. The Yellow Jackets (27-25, 11-18) used seven pitchers in the game.
Virginia jumped to a 9-0 lead after an inning and a half. UVA sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run first inning. With one out and the bases loaded, Gibson walked Coman and Caleb Knight (Jr., Checotah, Okla.) to force in two runs. Simmons followed with a run-scoring single, and a Georgia Tech error on an Andy Weber (So., Aurora, Ohio) grounder allowed two more runs to score. Justin Novak (Jr., Tokyo, Japan) followed with a two-run single to right for a 6-0 edge.
The Cavaliers tacked on three runs in the second inning while knocking Gibson from the game. UVA loaded the bases with one out, prompting Micah Carpenter to take over on the mound, and Simmons greeted him with an RBI single to left. Weber grounded out to bring home a run, and Knight scored on a wild pitch.
Georgia Tech got a solo home run from Kyle McCann to lead off the second and a two-run blast from Wade Bailey in the third to cut UVA’s lead to 9-3, but Casey retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced to keep the Yellow Jackets in check.
Virginia stretched its lead in the seventh inning by again batting around, scoring four runs while sending 10 to the plate as Haseley hit a two-run double, Smith followed with an RBI single and Simmons drove an RBI double to left.
Smith launched a three-run homer to right field in the eighth inning, his 11th homer of the year, for a 16-3 lead.