UVA Baseball: ‘Hoos pound Pitt in ACC series opener

uva baseballUVA Baseball (11-10, 3-4 ACC) captured a 13-3 win over Pittsburgh (7-13, 1-6 ACC) in the opening game of an ACC weekend series at Disharoon Park on Friday.

The 13 runs on 16 hits were the most the Cavaliers have posted in seven ACC games this year.

Senior Cameron Simmons (Royersford, Pa.) was responsible for seven the 13 Cavalier runs on the afternoon. For the second time this season he drove in four runs and also came around to score three times. In the sixth he blasted his team-leading fourth home run to open up a six-run Virginia advantage.

A total of 10 different Cavaliers recorded a hit in the contest including a pair of three-hit performers in Brendan Rivoli (Douglassville, Pa.) and Nate Eikhoff (Bristow, Va.). Rivoli collected his 11th multi-hit game and reached base in his first four trips to the plate. He came into the contest ranked ninth in the ACC in hitting and upped his average to .378 after his performance Friday.

“It’s good to get the first win of a conference series,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “I thought Noah (Murdock) did a nice job pitching into the seventh inning, I think that’s the deepest he’s pitched for us this season. Offensively we did a lot of great things, Cam Simmons had a few big hits for us, four RBI and we were really good throughout the whole lineup.”

Murdock (Colonial Heights, Va.) allowed three runs and matched a career-high with seven strikeouts in 6.2 innings. He picked up his first win of the season and recorded his third quality start in six chances. Murdock did not walk a batter, the second longest outing of his career. His only blemishes came off the bat of Pitt’s Connor Perry who led the game off with a solo homer and hit his second, another solo shot, in the fifth.

The Cavaliers improved to 4-2 when games that Murdock starts.

After falling into an early 1-0 hole in the top of the first, Virginia bounced back with three runs in the third. Simmons erased the 1-0 deficit with one swing, a two-RBI double to straightaway centerfield. Virginia followed up with a four-run rally in the fifth and blew the game open with four runs in their final turn at the plate in the eighth.

Freshman Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) collected a pair of doubles and was 2-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI in the contest. Classmate Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) extended his reached base streak to 21 games and his hit streak to 10 games with an RBI single in his final at bat.

Virginia relievers Grant Donahue (Berlin, Md.) and Blake Bales (Schoolcraft, Mich.) combined to throw 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. Bales struck out three batters and didn’t allow a hit in 1.2 innings of work. Over the past two games the Cavalier bullpen has not allowed a run in 9.1 innings.

The second game of the three-game set is scheduled for Saturday (March 23) at 1 p.m. The Cavaliers will have righthander Griff McGarry on the bump and he will be opposed by righty Dan Hammer.

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