CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – In one of the wildest finishes imaginable, Virginia (6-3) walked off with a 4-3 victory in 11 innings over William & Mary (1-8) and threw its sixth no-hitter in program history in the process.
Virginia was one out away from potentially losing the game, despite not allowing a single hit in 11 innings pitched. With the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 11th, senior Justin Novak (Tokyo, Japan) chopped a ball down the third base line that was fielded cleanly but an errant throw allowed Charlie Cody (Chesapeake, Va.) to score from third and Tanner Morris (Crozet, Va.) to score the game-winning run from second base.
Starting pitcher Bobby Nicholson (Charlottesville, Va.) threw 5.1 innings of hitless baseball to begin the historic night. Relievers Blake Rohm (Superior, Colo.), Grant Donahue (Berlin, Md.), Riley Wilson (Midlothian, Va.), Mack Meyer (San Francisco, Calif.) and Bennett Sousa (North Palm Beach, Fla.) finished the job over the final 5.2 innings.
“You hear this all the time but if you stay around the game of baseball long enough you see something you haven’t seen before,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “An 11-inning no-hitter, a collection of guys that pitched good but made some big pitches at clutch times. To have to come back and win it at the end and to have a no-hitter on the same night, is really really special.”
William & Mary broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 11th, capitalizing on three, two-out Virginia errors. The Tribe had scored its first run of the game on an RBI ground out in the top of the sixth and later tied the game on a sacrifice fly by Matthew Trehub in the seventh.
Nicholson, making just his second career start, struck out three batters and left the game with two runners on in the sixth. He was charged with one run and issued four walks in the contest. He retired 11 batters in-a-row from the second to fifth innings. The 5.1 innings pitched matched a career-high, set in his only other start of his career last season.
Sousa pitched for the second-straight night after earning the six-out save against VMI on Tuesday (Feb. 27). He allowed the unearned run in the 11th but stranded the potential go-ahead runs in scoring position in the ninth and 10th innings. Sousa struck out three batters in 2.1 innings and was credited with his eighth career victory.
Meyer, the fifth reliever of the night, stranded the potential go-ahead runner on third base in the eighth and recorded the final two outs of the frame. He struck out William & Mary three-hitter, Patrick Ryan to end the threat.
After posting 35 runs in the last three games, Virginia was held to eight hits and didn’t record an RBI. Junior Jake McCarthy (Scranton, Pa.) scored in the first inning when Andy Weber grounded into a double play. The second run of the game came in the third when Nate Eikhoff (Bristow, Va.) scored on a two-out, William & Mary error.
The combined no-hitter is the first in program history and the no-no is the first since Nathan Kirby struck out 18 batters in a hitless affair at Pittsburgh on April 14, 2014. In total Virginia has now thrown six no-hitters, four of them under O’Connor.
Virginia will be home for a weekend series against Yale, beginning on Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. Games two and three are scheduled for 1 p.m. starts at Davenport Field.
– Caleb Knight (Checotah, Okla.) walked three times in the game and has now reached safely in all nine games this year.
– McCarthy stole his sixth base of the season and is now 6-for-6 on the year.
– Virginia has scored a run in the first inning in each of the last five games.
– Eikhoff went 2-for-4 with a run scored. He has multiple-hit efforts in back-to-back games and three of his last four.