Stellar outing from Abbott, big day from Michaels, pushes UVA to win in CWS opener
Logan Michaels had a homer and three hits, and Andrew Abbott and Matt Wyatt combined to shut down a potent Tennessee lineup, keying a 6-0 Virginia win over the third-seeded Vols on Sunday at the 2021 College World Series.
The win sends UVA (36-25) to a winners’ bracket game on Tuesday night against the winner of Sunday’s late game between two seed Texas and seven seed Mississippi State.
Tennessee (50-17) had come in averaging 7.1 runs per game and ranked among the nation’s leaders with 98 home runs on the season.
The Volunteers had also been shut out just twice on the season – in a 9-0 loss at Charlotte on March 9, and a 5-0 loss to Vanderbilt, at the hands of top MLB draft prospect Kumar Rocker, on April 16.
Abbott (9-6, 2.87 ERA) had to pitch around some trouble – putting the first two runners on in the first, fifth and sixth – but the senior lefthander was able to get out of those jams largely via the strikeout.
In both the first and sixth, Abbott struck out two Volunteer hitters after putting runners on base.
Tennessee’s best chance to score was probably in the fifth, which Jordan Beck and Pete Derkay led off with singles. Connor Pavolony bunted the runners to second and third, and then leadoff man Liam Spence hit a screaming liner to second that Max Cotier hauled in for out number two.
Abbott then got Max Ferguson to ground up the middle, and UVA shortstop Nic Kent made a nice play ranging to his right to field the ball and make an accurate throw across his body to get the third out.
It was 1-0 at that point, on a third-inning solo shot off the bat of Michael, his first homer of the year.
After Abbott got out of the third jam in the sixth, striking out Luc Lipcius and Drew Gilbert with runners on first and third, Michaels helped ignite a four-run rally in the seventh that helped put the game out of reach.
Alex Tappen led off the top of the seventh with a single up the middle. Jack Gelof sacrificed Tappen to second, setting the stage for Michaels, whose single to center plated Tappen, with Michaels advancing to second on the throw home.
Chris Newell, one batter later, singled to center to score Michaels, with Zack Gelof and Cotier adding RBI singles later in the inning to push the lead to 5-0.
Abbott, who went six innings, allowing five hits, striking out 10 and walking two, was replaced in the seventh by Wyatt, who closed things down in the final three innings, allowing a hit and a walk, striking out three, to notch the save.
Chad Dallas (11-2, 4.19 ERA) took the loss for Tennessee, giving up four runs on eight hits in six and a third innings, striking out four and walking one.
Tennessee gets the loser of the Texas-Mississippi State game on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Story by Chris Graham