CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia (10-10) erased a three-run deficit and scored the go-ahead run in its final turn at the plate for a 6-3, comeback victory over UConn (11-7) at Disharoon Park on Wednesday (March 20).
Senior Jack Weiller (Katonah, N.Y.) broke a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly that scored Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.). Back-to-back, two out RBI singles from Nate Eikhoff (Bristow, Va.) and Cayman Richardson (Mechanicsville, Va.) finished off a three-run eighth inning rally.
The two-out success carried over from the seventh where Richardson and Logan Michaels (Deforest, Wis.) came up with the timely, RBI base knocks to ultimately knot the game at three. Richardson went 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. He has reached base in eight consecutive at bats with a total of seven hits.
Over the last four games, Virginia has scored 16 runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Five of the six UVA runs scored on Wednesday afternoon came with two outs.
“This was a big come from behind victory for our guys,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “I thought after a rough start (by our team) Chesdin Harrington came in, as a veteran does, and calmed the game down to give us a chance. It was great to see, I think this was a big win against a very, very good opponent in a UConn team that is in the NCAA Tournament year in and year out.”
Harrington (Montpelier, Va.) led a lights out performance by the Virginia bullpen that tossed a total of seven shutout innings between five different pitchers. Harrington sat down all eight batters he faced in three flawless innings. He got the Cavaliers out of a bases loaded jam by inducing an inning-ending double play in the third.. He struck out a total of five batters including four in-a-row starting in the fourth.
Relievers Blake Bales (Schoolcraft, Mich.) and Riley Wilson (Midlothian, Va.) picked up where Harrington led off, each credited with clean innings in the fifth and sixth, respectively. The trio combined to sit down 13-straight Huskies from the third inning on.
Paul Kosanovich (Temple City, Calif.) worked around a lead-off single in the eighth and stranded a pair of runners in the frame to help secure his third win of the season. Sophomore Kyle Whitten (Manassas, Va.) earned his second save with the help of two, ninth-inning strikeouts.
Trailing 3-0 after a three-run homer by UConn’s Chris Winkel in the second, Virginia got on the scoreboard with a solo home run by Brendan Rivoli (Douglassville, Pa.) in the fourth. It was the first hit of the game for the Cavaliers as Husky starter, Colby Dunlop faced the minimum over the first 3.2 innings aided by a third inning double play.
Rivoli has homered in three of his last four games and it marked the fourth-straight game a Cavalier has cleared the fences.
Virginia will continue its home stand this weekend with a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series against Pittsburgh. The series opener is scheduled for Friday (March 22) at 4 p.m. Start times for both Saturday and Sunday are slated for 1 p.m. All three games will air live on ACC Network Extra.
• The meeting was the first between Virginia and UConn since 1986 and the first visit to Charlottesville since 1963. The Cavaliers hold a 4-2 edge in the all-time series.
• Virginia has homered in four-straight games for the first time since 2017 when it finished the season with a long ball in eight-straight.
• Gelof extended his reached base streak to 20 games with walk in the sixth. He singled in the ninth to move his hit streak to a team-best, nine games.
• Through the first 20 games, the fourth and the eighth innings have proved to be the Cavaliers’ most potent frames, plating 23 total runs in each.