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Virginia rallies, defeats Jacksonville, 13-8, to keep season alive

zack gelof
Zack Gelof. Photo courtesy UVA Athletics.

Jake Gelof had a homer, two doubles, his brother, Zack, had four hits, and Nate Savino calmed things down for Virginia with five innings of relief in a 13-8 win over Jacksonville on Saturday in the Columbia Regional.

The win sends Virginia (30-24) to another elimination game Sunday against the loser of tonight’s ODU-South Carolina game.

Things didn’t look too good for the Cavaliers early. Starting pitcher Mike Vasil got knocked out in the third and was charged with five runs on seven hits in two-plus innings as Jacksonville (16-34) opened up a 5-2 lead.

Savino (3-3, 3.60 ERA) got the win with four and two-thirds innings of relief in which he limited Jacksonville to a run on two hits.

Savino, normally coach Brian O’Connor’s Sunday starter, entered in the fifth in relief of Kyle Whitten, and the score tied at 5-5, and promptly allowed two inherited runners to score – on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly.

UVA got a run back in the bottom of the fifth on a Max Cotier RBI single, then broke the game open in the sixth with a five-spot – on an RBI double by Nic Kent, a Jack Gelof two-run homer, and another Cotier RBI single.

The ‘Hoos tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth on a Chris Newell moonshot out of the area code to right and a Devin Ortiz RBI single.

Virginia had 21 hits on the day – with Zack Gelof and Kyle Teel posting four knocks each, and Cotier and Jake Gelof adding three apiece.

Tomorrow looks like a staff day, given that O’Connor has used his three weekend starters – Andrew Abbott on Friday, and Vasil and Savino today.

Spot starter Zach Messinger pitched two and a third innings on Friday in the 4-3 loss to South Carolina, so you would expect him to be available for maybe two to three innings at best.

Does O’Connor maybe try to go with Griff McGarry (0-5, 7.46 ERA), who began the 2021 season as a weekend starter, before being relegated to the bullpen and then the doghouse as he struggled with command (33 BB in 25.1 IP)?

Story by Chris Graham


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