UVA Baseball: ‘Hoos rally late, defeat Pitt, clinch ACC series
UVA baseball (12-10, 4-4 ACC) broke a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the eighth by plating three runs en route to a 7-5 series-clinching victory over Pittsburgh (7-14, 1-7 ACC) on Saturday at Disharoon Park.
After leading off the eighth with a single, Logan Michaels (DeForest, Mich.) scored the go-ahead run from second base on a one-out Pittsburgh throwing error. Run scoring doubles from Cameron Simmons (Royersford, Pa.) and Tanner Morris (Crozet, Va.) gave the Cavaliers a 7-4 advantage going into the ninth inning.
In the ninth, Pitt’s Ron Washington Jr. led the inning off with a solo home run but Kyle Whitten (Manassas, Va.) induced three-straight ground outs to secure his first win of the season. The righthander came into the game in the top of the eighth with the go-ahead runner on second base with two outs and forced Pitt’s Cole MaClaren to hit into a fielder’s choice to end the threat. Whitten has a save and a win in 2.1 innings pitched this week.
“To get the series win today it was a total team effort,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We weren’t spectacular from a pitching standpoint but Kyle Whitten did a nice job in the eighth inning with runners on first and second holding the game right there. Everyone in our lineup had a hit and that’s pretty rare in a college baseball game to have everyone in the lineup get a hit.”
The 12-hit day for the Cavalier offense featured every starter with at least one base hit. Simmons and Morris headlined the multi-hit efforts, each going 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. For the second-straight game freshman Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) collected two hits, finishing Saturday 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Junior Cayman Richardson (Mechanicsville, Va.) gave the Cavaliers the initial lead with an RBI triple in the second. He later scored on a Michaels RBI ground out. The triple for Richardson was the second of his career and third by a Cavalier in 2019.
Both teams were the beneficiaries of defensive miscues as Pitt took its only lead by scoring a pair of unearned runs in the fifth. Two of the three Cavalier runs scored in the eighth were unearned and proved to be the difference in the ballgame.
Virginia starting pitcher Griff McGarry (Portola Valley, Calif.) struck out six batters in four innings before giving way to reliever Andrew Abbott (Halifax, Va.). Of the three runs scored on Abbott in 3.2 innings of work, just one was charged to his final line.
Virginia will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon with the series finale scheduled for 1 p.m. at Disharoon Park. Freshman Mike Vasil will get the nod for the Cavaliers on the mound. Pitt has yet to announce a starting pitcher.