May 11, 2018
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia (26-20, 10-15 ACC) broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth by plating six runs and went on to register an 8-6 victory over Georgia Tech (27-23, 11-14 ACC) in the series opener at Disharoon Park.
The six-run fifth inning was the seventh time this season Virginia has scored five or more runs in a single frame. The rally was capped the fourth home run of the season and second in as many games by Cameron Comer (Powell, Ohio). The junior catcher lined the first pitch he saw in the frame into the right field bullpen, giving the Cavaliers a commanding 7-1 advantage.
Georgia Tech pulled within three with four runs in the top of the eighth inning. With one out and two runners on, Cavalier starting pitcher Derek Casey (Mechanicsville, Va.) was lifted from the game. Ensuing RBI hits by Tristin English and Austin Wilhite made the score 8-5.
The Yellow Jackets added a solo home run in the top of the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate before Bennett Sousa (North Palm Beach, Fla.) struck out the final batter of the game to complete his fifth save of the season.
“It was an interesting ball game, we haven’t too many like that in league play where we jump out to that kind of lead,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “Certainly, in that big inning in the fifth where we scored six runs, our guys put some good swings on their starter (Xzavion Curry). Derek Casey, I thought was very, very good, Georgia Tech has a very good offensive ball club and they showed that there at the end of the game.”
Casey pitched into the eighth inning for the third time this season and produced his eighth quality start. Half of his quality starts have come in ACC play. The right-hander did not allow a Yellow Jacket hit until the fifth, a solo homer by Wilhite. He fanned five batters in 7.1 innings of work, upping his season total to 93.
Freshman Tanner Morris (Crozet, Va.) served as an offensive catalyst, with his second four-hit game of the season. He drove in Virginia’s first run of the game with an RBI single in the top of the second and scored the second run of the fifth, coming home on an Andy Weber (Aurora, Ohio) triple. Weber reached base three times and drove in a game-high three runs.
Weber, who came into the weekend with the league’s third highest batting average, is now hitting .356 with a team-best 44 RBIs. He’s now reached base safely in 32-straight games.
Eight of the nine batters in the Virginia lineup recorded a hit in the contest as the Cavaliers totaled 13 base knocks on the night.
The Cavaliers and Yellow Jackets return to action on Saturday afternoon for the middle game of a three-game set. Virginia will send sophomore Noah Murdock (1-1) to the hill and he will be opposed by lefty Connor Thomas (5-3). Prior to the game, Virginia will honor its eight seniors with an on-field ceremony slated to begin at 3:40 p.m. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Disharoon Park.
– Virginia had the lead-off man in in five of its eight turns at the plate.
– The save for Sousa was his first of less than two innings.
– The 13 Virginia hits matched a season-high in ACC play.
– The win for Virginia was its 20th at home in 2018. The Cavaliers have won 20 games at Davenport Field at Disharoon Park in all but three seasons since it opened in 2002.