UVA Baseball: ‘Hoos rally from early deficit, defeat Virginia Tech in marathon extra-inning affair

uva baseballUVA Baseball (31-21, 13-15 ACC) rallied from an early 6-2 deficit with six unanswered runs in an 8-6, comeback victory over Virginia Tech (25-26, 8-20 ACC) in 11 innings at English Field on Thursday night.

The Cavaliers have won eight of the last 10 meetings against the Hokies.

The win lifts Virginia to 41st in the NCAA RPI rankings heading into the final two games of the series.

Cameron Simmons (Royersford, Pa.) scored the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th on a Virginia Tech fielding error. On the next play Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) put Virginia up 8-6 when he came around to score on a double play.

The Cavaliers won their third game this season when trailing after the eighth inning and have come from behind to win in 20 of their 31 wins this season.

Five Virginia relievers combined for seven shutout innings to put the Cavaliers in position for a late-game comeback. Sophomore Kyle Whitten (Manassas, Va.) was credited with his second win in as many games after tossing a pair of clean frames. In both the ninth and 10th innings he stranded the potential game-winning run in scoring position

Lefthander Andrew Abbott (Halifax, Va.) closed out the game in the 11th with two strikeouts and induced a game-ending ground out with the Hokie runners on first and second base. Abbott recorded his second save of the season and first since April 2. The lefthander has fanned 12 batters in his last five innings pitched, a span of four appearances.

Trailing by as many as four runs, the Cavaliers began their comeback in the sixth inning. With two outs, freshman Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) made the score, 6-3 with an RBI single into right center that scored Cayman Richardson (Mechanicsville, Va.). The next batter, Brendan Rivoli (Douglassville, Pa.) dropped a two-run single in front of the right fielder to make the score 6-5.

Kent and Rivoli were in the mix of the two-out, game-tying rally in the top of the eighth. Kent doubled and Rivoli was intentionally walked to put runners on first and second with Simmons at the plate. Kent and Rivoli executed a double steal to put runners on second and third. A wild pitch allowed Kent to score and tie the game. On the same play, a carom off the backstop nearly allowed Rivoli to score from second but he was called out at home on a close play that was eventually reviewed and upheld.

Rivoli drove in three runs and finished the game 2-for-5 with a walk and a stolen base. Kent recorded his team-leading 40th RBI of the year, first freshman to drive in 40 runs since Pavin Smith recorded 44 RBI in 2015.

Fellow freshman Zach Messinger (Chandler, Ind.) began the streak of seven-straight scoreless innings with two strikeouts in 1.2 innings of work. Righthander Paul Kosanovich (Temple City, Calif.) recorded two clutch inning-ending outs in 1.1. innings, stranding runners in scoring position in the sixth and seventh frames.

Working in his second-straight game, Riley Wilson (Midlothian, Va.) worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning, the first perfect frame for either team in the contest.

The series continues on Friday afternoon with the middle game of a three-game set. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m. on ACC Network Extra and WINA 98.9 FM/1070 AM.

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