UVA baseball takes opener with #13 North Carolina
The UVA baseball team took Game 1 of its weekend series with No. 13 North Carolina Friday evening at Davenport Field, as the Cavaliers prevailed 7-4. UVA improved to 22-14 on the year and pulled even in the ACC Coastal Division standings at 8-8 with UNC (24-10).
“I was proud of our guys,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We gave up the two runs in the top of the second inning and we fought back to get a run in the bottom of the second, and the four runs in the third were big for us because (Zac) Gallen is really talented. He is an outstanding pitcher and I was proud of our guys for finding a way and battling him to get a win on Friday night.”
The Friday matchup pitted the ACC’s reigning co-pitchers of the week in UVA’s Connor Jones (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) and UNC’s Zac Gallen, and each grinded through six tough innings of work. Jones (7-1) allowed three runs (one earned), five hits and five walks while striking out two to earn the win. Gallen (4-3) allowed five earned runs, six hits and four walks with three strikeouts.
After Kevin Doherty (Sr., Laytonsville, Md.) gave UVA 2 2/3 innings out of the bullpen, Tommy Doyle (So., Vienna, Va.) got the game’s final out to claim his first career save.
Both teams finished with eight hits. Matt Thaiss (Jr., Jackson, N.J.) and Justin Novak (So., Tokyo, Japan) each had a pair of hits for UVA, while Nate Eikhoff (Fr., Bristow, Va.) had the game’s biggest hit, a bases-clearing triple in the third inning.
North Carolina scored a pair of unearned runs in the second inning. An error, single and passed ball put runners on second and third with one out before Cody Roberts hit a fly ball to right field. Cameron Simmons (Fr., Royersford, Pa.) fired a strike to home plate, but the ball popped out of the glove of Matt Thaiss at the plate and then rolled toward the UNC dugout, with Zack Gahagan and Tyler Lynn each scoring on the play.
Virginia cut a run from the lead in its half of the second on a Ryan Karstetter (Fr., State College, Pa.) RBI groundout and then put up four more runs in the third to take a 5-3 lead. Thaiss tied the game with a run-scoring single and with two outs and the bases loaded, Eikhoff lined a triple to right-center to clear the bases.
Both pitchers settled down before UNC struck for a run in the seventh inning as Lynn led off with a triple to center and scored on a Roberts single, which knocked Jones from the game.
Virginia doubled its lead with a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning. UVA loaded the bases with one out before Novak hit a sharp grounder to third base that Gahagan booted, allowing Daniel Pinero (Jr., Toronto, Ontario) to score. Adam Haseley (So., Winderemere, Fla.) then grounded into a fielder’s choice to bring home Jack Gerstenmaier (So., Richmond, Va.).
Lynn homered to lead off the ninth inning to cap the scoring.
Game 2 of the series is set for 4 p.m. Saturday. VirginiaSports.com will have the video broadcast of the Saturday games as well as an audio broadcast Sunday. WINA 1070-AM and 98.9-FM have the radio call. A link to live statistics also can be found on VirginiaSports.com.
Because of the Luke Bryan concert Saturday night at John Paul Jones Arena, all baseball parking will be directed to the Emmet-Ivy Garage. There is no charge for parking at EIG.