Feb. 18, 2018
ORLANDO, Fla. – Junior Evan Sperling (Poquoson, Va.) surrendered one hit and struck out nine batters as No. 18 Virginia (2-1) shut out Rice (2-1), 3-0 at John Euliano Park on the campus of UCF.
Sperling was dominant from the start, retiring the first seven batters of the game including five by way of the strikeout. Rice’s only hit off Sperling came in the top of the fourth inning off the bat of Ford Proctor. Sperling walked three batters and matched a career-high with nine strikeouts.
“This was a great weekend for us,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We faced three good teams in UCF, Samford and Rice. As we all know wins in college baseball are hard, so we’ll take them any way we can get them.”
Senior Justin Novak (Tokyo, Japan) provided the insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh with a two-out, two-RBI double down the left field line. The run-scoring hit plated Charlie Cody (Chesapeake, Va.) and Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.). Up until an Ortiz single in the single, Rice starting pitcher Addison Moss had retired nine-straight Cavaliers.
Moss was nearly as effective on the mound for Rice. The right-hander went 6.2 innings, surrendering just a run on a double play ball in the bottom of the fourth inning. He was charged with the final two runs after reliever Willy Amador gave up the double to Novak.
In his first appearance of the season, lefty Riley Wilson (Midlothian, Va.) worked a scoreless seventh inning before yielding to Bennett Sousa (North Palm Beach, Fla.) for the final six outs. Sousa faced the minimum in the eighth inning and stranded two runners in the ninth with a strikeout to record his first career save.
Virginia will play its home opener on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 3 p.m. against VMI. There is a new “Clear Bag” policy in place at Davenport Field. Please click here to view Klöckner Stadium FAQs regarding bag and entry policies.
Single game tickets are still available for Tuesday. Fans may purchase tickets on VirginiaSports.com/tickets or through the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall at Scott Stadium. The ticket office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. for in-person or telephone purchases. Telephone purchases can be made by calling 1-800-542-UVA1 (8821) or locally at 434-924-UVA1 (8821).
-Rice and Virginia are two of four teams in college baseball to qualify for the last 14 NCAA Tournaments.
-Virginia struck out 13 batters in Sundays contest, the third-straight game the pitching staff has combined for 10+ strikeouts.
-Andy Weber went 1-for-4 with a run scored and has hit safely in the team’s first three games.
-The shutout for Virginia is the first since April 29, 2017. The Cavaliers recorded four shutouts last season.