May 24, 2018
May 24, 2018
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia (29-25) concluded pool play at the ACC Championship and the 2018 season with a 4-2 victory over third-seeded NC State (40-15). It marked the second time in four seasons the Cavaliers have ended their season with a victory.
Virginia starting pitcher Derek Casey (Mechanicsville, Va.) pitched into the eighth inning for the fifth time in 2018 and struck out nine batters in 7.2 innings of work. The senior struck out the first two batters of the eighth inning before exiting with runners on second and third.
That set the stage for classmate Bennett Sousa (North Palm Beach, Fla.) who went on to strike out the final batter of the frame, allowing the Cavaliers to hold on to their 3-2 lead. He went on to retire the Wolfpack in order in the ninth, including two more strikeouts for his sixth save of the season.
“‘I’m amazed all the time when you get an opportunity to work with 18- to 23-year-old young men what they’re made of and their character, and I think today was a great example of what these guys and their teammates are made of,” head coach Brian O’Connor said.
Casey was dominant from the start, retiring four of the first six batters by way of the strikeout. His first strikeout in the second inning was his 100th of the season. He and teammate Daniel Lynch (Henrico, Va.) became the first Cavalier duo to each strikeout 100 in a season since Danny Hultzen and Tyler Wilson accomplished the feat in 2011. After surrendering the lone two runs, Casey retired 14 of the next 16 batters.
The Cavalier offense erased an early 2-0 deficit with a two-run, third inning. The first three Cavaliers reached base which featured an RBI single by Jake McCarthy (Scranton, Pa.). The ensuing batter, Andy Weber (Aurora, Ohio), hit a ball deep enough to center that enabled Tanner Morris (Crozet, Va.) to trot home for third, tying the score up at two.
Virginia plated the go-ahead run in the fourth inning when Cayman Richardson (Mechanicsville, Va.) scored on a NC State throwing error. He then drove in a Cavalier insurance run in the top of the ninth inning. He finished the day 2-for-3 with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI.
Junior Nate Eikhoff (Bristow, Va.) put forth the other Cavalier multi-hit effort by going 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored.
The Cavaliers finish pool play with a 1-1 record after a 3-2, extra-inning loss to Florida State on Tuesday (May 22).
– Of the 54 games this season, 25 have been decided by either one or two runs. The one-run loss earlier in the ACC Championship was Virginia’s 10th of the season, dropping them to 10-10 in one run games.
– The come from behind victory for the Cavaliers was their 13th of the season.
– Virginia and NC State met for the first time since 2016.
– Weber roped his 19th double of the season, tying him for the second-most in the ACC.
– McCarthy stole his team-leading 9th base of the season and the first since he returned from injury. He finished the year a perfect, 9-for-9 and is 36-for-38 in three seasons as a Cavaliers.