March 30, 2018
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Virginia (15-11, 4-6 ACC) emerged on top, 10-7 in a back and forth battle against Pittsburgh (12-10, 2-8 ACC) at Charles L. Cost Field. The Cavaliers overcame a pair of deficits in the contest, took the lead for good in the sixth inning and held off a late charge by the Panthers.
Bennett Sousa (North Palm Beach, Fla.) pitched the final two innings to earn his third save of the season. The tying run came to the plate in the ninth inning but Sousa struck out Nico Popa on three pitches to seal the Cavaliers 15th win of the season. Popa had homered in the inning prior.
The Cavalier offense scored in six of its nine plate appearances and collected 13 hits, the most in 10 ACC games this year. Junior Andy Weber (Aurora, Ohio) went 3-for-6 with two doubles and three RBI in the contest. He provided two of the final three Cavalier runs, including a two-out single in the top of the ninth to make the score 10-7. The junior second baseman was inches from a grand slam in the Virginia fourth-inning rally and settled for his fourth double in the last two games.
Virginia and Pittsburgh combined for six errors, tied the most by the Cavaliers and an opponent in a single game this season. Starting pitcher Derek Casey (Mechanicsville, Va.) was responsible for four of the seven runs that came across during his seven-inning stint on the mound. The right-hander struck out nine batters and earned his 12th career victory. He has pitched into the seventh inning in his last four starts.
Freshman Tanner Morris (Crozet, Va.) put together his second three-hit performance in ACC play with a 3-for-5 effort at the plate. Junior Cameron Comer (Powell, Ohio) and senior Justin Novak (Tokyo, Japan) rounded out the multi-hit performers in the Cavalier lineup, each collecting two base knocks. Comer blasted his first career home run to tie the game up in the top of the second inning.
The Cavaliers did not relinquish the lead after freshman Alex Tappen (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) broke a 6-6 tie with a single up the middle in the top of the sixth inning. The RBI was the second of two on the day.
The middle game of the three-game series is scheduled for Saturday (March 31) at 3 p.m. Virginia will send Daniel Lynch to the mound and he will be opposed by right-hander Matt Pidich.
– Weber has now hit safely in 12-straight games, matching a career high set earlier this season.
– Virginia scored 10 runs for the seventh time this season and the second time in the last 13 games.
– Caleb Knight (Checotah, Okla.) extended his reached base streak to 11 games. He was 1-for-4 with two walks, a run scored and an RBI. He has reached safely in 25 of the 26 games this season.
– Casey and Sousa combined for 13 strikeouts, the 16th time this season that Virginia pitchers have combined for 10 or more strikeouts in a game. The Cavaliers have fanned 10+ in eight of the 10 ACC games this season.
– Comer’s home run was the first by a Cavalier since March 18, ending a seven-game home run drought.
– Virginia and William & Mary committed six combined errors in their Feb. 28 game at Disharoon Park.