CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Duke (11-5, 2-1 ACC) held on in the nightcap, 8-6 to clinch the opening Atlantic Coast Conference series of 2019 for Virginia (8-7, 1-2 ACC). The Blue Devils knotted the series up earlier in the day with a 2-1 victory.
“Today was a tough day,” said head coach Brian O’Connor. “You win game one (Saturday) and have a chance to win the series at home and certainly don’t find a way to win either game. I was proud of our guys in that second game (of Sunday doubleheader) down 8-1 when we came charging back. You have to credit Duke. Offensively they went on the attack in both games, scoring in the first inning and I thought they swung the bats pretty aggressively. Unfortunately we couldn’t do enough.”
The Cavaliers snapped their four-game win streak and will hit the road for the next four games beginning Wednesday (March 13) at Liberty followed by a three-game series at Georgia Tech (March 15-17).
A pair Blue Devil sacrifice flies, one in the first inning and another in the second, enough to even the series at one. Chris Crabtree’s fly ball to centerfield in the second inning that scored Ethan Murray proved to be the game-winning run.
Duke starting pitcher Bryce Jarvis limited the Cavaliers to six hits and improved to 2-0 on the season. He struck out four batters and allowed only an unearned run on 100 pitches.
Cavalier starter, Griff McGarry (Portola Valley, Calif.), worked masterfully with runners on base, allowing two runs on eight Duke hits. Of the eight hits, six came in the first two innings where the righty escaped with only two runs allowed. McGarry left five Duke runners in scoring position. He got stronger as the game went on, retiring 13 of the final 15 batters.
The lone Virginia run came on a Blue Devil error in left field that allowed Nate Eikhoff (Bristow, Va.) to score from second base. The miscue came on a double down the line by Logan Michaels (DeForest, Wis.), his fifth of the season.
The Cavaliers had one final chance in the bottom of the ninth, placing the tying run on second and the winning run on first with one out. Duke’s Hunter Davis induced back-to-back fly ball outs earn his first save of the season.
Virginia sophomores Kyle Whitten (Manassas, Va.) and Andrew Abbott (Halifax, Va.) each pitched an inning of scoreless relief to keep Virginia in the ball game.
Sophomore Brendan Rivoli (Douglassville, Pa.) went 2-for-5 with a double, his eighth multi-hit game of the season.
Duke hit three home runs, one on the game’s first pitch by Chris Crabtree, to power them to a series clinching-victory. The knockout blow came in the seventh inning on a grand slam by Rudy Maxwell to make the score 8-1.
The Blue Devils were able to stave off a furious comeback that saw Virginia score five runs in its final three turns at the plate.
The Cavaliers responded quickly to the grand slam with four runs of their own in the bottom half of the seventh. Two runs came across on a Blue Devil fielding error before Cayman Richardson (Mechanicsville, Va.) plated a run on a sacrifice fly and senior Jack Weiller (Katonah, N.Y) came through with a pinch-hit, RBI single.
Virginia pulled within two on an RBI single by Alex Tappen (Lower Gwyneed, Pa.) in the bottom of the eighth and left the tying run at first base. In the ninth, the tying run came to the plate after Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) drew a one-out walk.
Duke closer, Thomas Girard recorded a strikeout and forced the game-ending pop out for his second save of the season.
Sophomore Tanner Morris (Crozet, Va.) went 3-for-6 with two runs scored, his fourth three-hit effort of the season. He has reached base safely in all 15 games this season and leads the team with a .379 batting average.
• Virginia dropped to 0-2 on the season in one-run games and have been on the short side of six-straight dating back to last season.
• Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) extended his reached base streaks to 15 games. Gelof got on for the first time in game one in the bottom of the ninth inning with a single.
• Duke has now won back-to-back series against the Cavaliers, after Virginia had won nine-straight from 2009-17.
• Virginia was swept in an ACC doubleheader for the first time since April of 2015 (NC State).