March 29, 2017
RICHMOND, Va. — Behind a strong start from pitcher Derek Casey (Jr., Mechanicsville, Va.), the No. 16 Virginia baseball team pulled out a 4-2 victory over VCU Wednesday evening in front of 4,024 fans at The Diamond in Richmond. After falling behind 2-0 after one inning, Virginia (20-6) chipped away before taking the lead on a two-out Andy Weber (So., Aurora, Ohio) RBI single in the eighth inning.
“I thought Derek Casey was the story of the game tonight,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “He gave up two runs in the first inning, and we had a miscommunication that led to the second run, and he buckled down and pitched the best he has all year. He was throwing his breaking ball for strikes, which he had not done at a good rate this year. Derek Casey pitching deep into the ballgame is what won us this game.”
Casey worked a season-high 6 1/3 innings in a no decision, allowing two runs (one earned), five hits and two walks while striking out a career-high 10 batters, most by a UVA pitcher since Connor Jones fanned 11 NC State batters on April 24, 2015.
Bennett Sousa (Jr., North Palm Beach, Fla.) earned the win and improved to 1-0 with one perfect inning of work out of the bullpen, while Tommy Doyle (Jr., Vienna, Va.) pitched out of jams in the eighth and ninth innings to fire 1 2/3 shutout innings and claim his seventh save in as many chances.
VCU reliever Sam Donko (1-2) took the loss after allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits over the final two innings.
Virginia put its running game in high gear, swiping seven bases in as many attempts, marking the Cavaliers’ most stolen bases since April 7, 2010, against Radford. UVA finished with nine hits. Caleb Knight (Jr., Checotah, Okla.) went 3-for-4, while Adam Haseley (Jr., Windermere, Fla.) and Charlie Cody (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) added two hits each. Haseley also stole three bases, most by a Cavalier since Daniel Pinero had three in the 2015 College World Series against Arkansas.
VCU (14-11) jumped on the Cavaliers for a pair of first-inning runs, getting a two-out RBI single from Paul Witt, who moved to second on a throwing error and later scored on an errant throw to first following a potential inning-ending strikeout.
UVA cut the lead in half in the fifth inning as Cody led off with a single, stole second and moved to third on a Knight infield single. Nate Eikhoff (So., Bristow, Va.) followed with a fly ball to center to bring Cody home.
The Cavaliers used the running game to knot the score in the sixth as Haseley hit a one-out single, then stole second and third, coming home on a throwing error by catcher Dylan Isquirdo following his third stolen base of the game.
Virginia moved ahead in the eighth inning. Ernie Clement (Jr., Rochester, N.Y.) led off and reached on an error by shortstop Zac Ching. He swiped second base, and Haseley followed with a walk. Two outs later, Weber lined a single that was just out of the reach of a diving Witt at second base, with Clement coming around to score.
UVA added a run in the ninth on a Clement sac fly to center. VCU put its first two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth, but Doyle struck out Steven Carpenter before fanning Daane Berezo on a ball in the dirt, and Knight fired to third to easily throw out Mitchel Lacey, who was attempting to advance on the play, to end the game.
Virginia returns home this weekend (Friday through Sunday) for a three-game ACC series against No. 2 Louisville.