Feb. 19, 2017
CHARLESTON, S.C. — The No. 16 Virginia baseball team scored nine unanswered runs over the last three innings to rally from a 6-0 deficit and defeat Kansas, 9-6, in its final game at Charleston Crab House Challenge at Joe Riley Park in Charleston, S.C. Virginia (3-0) completed a weekend tournament sweep to open the season.
UVA had one hit and two baserunners over the first six innings as it was stymied by KU starter Taylor Turski, who kept the Cavaliers off balance all day. UVA stormed back with nine runs and 10 hits from the seventh inning on.
“For the first weekend of the season, to have a game like that where we were down like that and come back to score nine runs over the final three innings is something that we can certainly build on,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “Our guys battled. The first six innings, we couldn’t figure their starter out. He was doing a tremendous job, and we didn’t make the right adjustments until the seventh inning. Fortunately we did.”
Virginia pitchers combined to strike out 15 batters, while the bullpen of Alec Bettinger (Sr., Woodbridge, Va.), Bennett Sousa (Jr., North Palm Beach, Fla.) and Tommy Doyle (Jr., Vienna, Va.) combined to work 5 1/3 innings and allowed just one earned run and three hits. Doyle (1-0) worked the final two innings to earn the win.
UVA starter Adam Haseley (Jr., Windermere, Fla.) worked 3 2/3 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) and seven hits while striking out six.
Turski worked six-plus innings, allowing two earned runs, three hits and one walk while recording one strikeout. KU closer Stephen Villines (0-1) absorbed the loss after allowing five earned runs and six hits in 1 1/3 innings of work.
The Cavaliers’ comeback was fueled by the long ball, as Charlie Cody (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) hit a three-run home run in the seventh and Pavin Smith (Jr., Jupiter, Fla.) swatted a game-tying two-run blast in the eighth. Smith had a pair of hits and drove in three runs Sunday and finished the weekend with seven RBI. UVA’s offense piled up 29 runs and 38 hits in the three weekend contests.
Kansas (1-2) struck first by batting around and scoring four runs in the third inning. KU put the first two batters on base as James Cosentino singled and Peyton Grassanovits reached when Haseley bobbled a bunt attempt for an error. One out later, KU came up with four straight run-scoring hits. David Kyriacou and Rudy Karre hit back-to-back RBI singles before Marcus Wheeler doubled in a run. Devin Foyle completed the run with a run-scoring single to center.
KU added a pair of runs in the sixth inning on a two-run single to left field by Matt McLaughlin.
Virginia knocked Turski from the game in the seventh as Haseley led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Smith’s single to right field. KU reliever Tyler Davis got one out before walking Cameron Simmons (So., Royersford, Pa.) and giving up a three-run blast to left field by Cody.
Kansas threatened in its half of the seventh, putting a runner on second with none out following a single and a Bettinger balk. With two outs and a runner on third, UVA went to Sousa, who struck out Cosentino with a filthy slider to end the inning.
“I thought Bennett Sousa coming in was a big, big pickup for us,” O’Connor said. “He came in and got us out there in the seventh inning, which was huge for us and gave us some momentum.”
UVA then tied the game in the eighth inning as Ernie Clement (Jr., Rochester, N.Y.) hit a leadoff single off Villines and Smith launched a two-out, two-run homer to right field. It was Smith’s second homer of the weekend.
The Cavaliers took their first lead with one out in the ninth inning, getting three consecutive hits. Pinch hitter Nate Eikhoff (So., Bristow, Va.) singled to center and moved to third on a hit-and-run single from Cayman Richardson (Fr., Mechanicsville, Va.). Facing reliever Chase Kaplan, Clement lined the first pitch up the middle and through the drawn-in infield to give UVA its first lead. McCarthy followed with a two-run double to right for a 9-6 advantage.
Virginia opens its home schedule at 3 p.m. Tuesday against VMI at Davenport Field.