UVA Baseball: No. 2 Vanderbilt uses big inning to pull away in season opener
Second-ranked Vanderbilt (1-0) scored eight runs in the top of the fourth inning to help deliver a 15-9, season-opening victory over UVA (0-1) as part of the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament played inside the Salt River Fields complex, the spring training home of Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Diamondbacks.
The two teams traded runs over the first two innings before Vanderbilt’s Ethan Paul broke a 4-4 tie with a solo home run in the top of the third. The Commodores blew the game open an inning later, scoring eight runs, seven with two outs while three of the runs came across unearned.
In his collegiate debut, freshman Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) went 4-for-5 with three doubles and four RBI. The three doubles in the contest matched a school record. He is the 30th player in UVA history to put forth a three-double game and first since Andy Weber doubled three times against George Washington on April 5, 2017.
Trailing 13-4 going into the fifth, Gelof instilled some hope into the UVA dugout with a two-out, three-run triple to make the score 13-8. Virginia pulled within four on an RBI groundout from fellow first year Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) in the bottom half of the seventh.
Vanderbilt responded with its 10th and 11th two-out runs in the top of the eighth to make the score 15-9.
The Cavaliers battled back from a pair of two-run deficits in their first two trips to the plate. Virginia tied the game at two in the bottom of the first on a Brendan Rivoli (Douglassville, Pa.) sacrifice fly in the first and back up again at four after a fielder’s choice in the second by Cayman Richardson (Mechanicsville, Va.) that scored Cameron Comer (Powell, Ohio.).
Virginia relievers Riley Wilson (Midlothian, Va.), Evan Sperling (Poquoson, Va.) and Grant Donahue (Berlin, Md.) all came out unscathed, combining for 4.1 innings of scoreless relief.
The MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament resumes for Virginia on Saturday (Feb. 16) with a matchup against No. 17 TCU. Cavalier freshman righty Mike Vasil will oppose fellow right-hander Jared Janczak at 7 p.m. EST.