CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia (2-2) plated all four of its runs in the seventh inning to complete a 4-3 come-from-behind win over VMI (1-3) in the home opener at Disharoon Park. The Cavaliers extend their home winning streak against non-conference foes to 13 games.
Junior Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.) drove in the first run of the game with a one-out, RBI single to right center field that scored Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) and later scored the game-winning run on a Tate Ballestero (Morristown, N.J.) RBI ground out. The Cavaliers took advantage of a passed ball and balk in the frame to tie the contest at three.
Devin Ortiz gets UVA on the board with this RBI single that scores Zack Gelof!!
— Virginia Baseball (@UVABaseball) February 19, 2020
Junior Andrew Abbott (Republican Grove, Va.) was credited with the win after tossing 1.2 innings of scoreless relief beginning in the seventh. Abbott allowed one hit and fanned three of the six batters he faced. Graduate transfer Stephen Schoch (Laurel, Md.) was credited with his first save as a Cavalier after he came into the game in the top of the ninth and struck out the side.
“Sometimes you win in impressive fashion and sometimes it’s unimpressive, that was unimpressive,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “As I told the team after the game, it doesn’t matter how you win, it’s a matter of winning. We’re focused on getting back to winning Virginia baseball and this is a process and we need to keep getting better.”
The Cavaliers found themselves in a 3-0 hole when the Keydets scored three unearned runs in the top of the fifth, two on an RBI double by Will Knight. VMI out-hit the Cavaliers 8-3 in the contest.
Virginia starting pitcher Zach Messinger (Chandler, Ind.) picked up where he left off opening weekend with 3.2 innings of scoreless baseball. He struck out four batters in his first start of the year. He has not allowed a run in six innings of work and has accumulated a team-high, 10 strikeouts.
Virginia continues its 15-game stint at home on Friday (Feb. 21) with the start of a four-game series against Bucknell at Disharoon Park. First pitch for the series opener is slated for 3 p.m.
• Virginia has squared off against VMI in the last five home openers and is 107-32 against the Keydets in an all-time series that dates back to 1889.
• The Cavaliers improved to 14-3 in home openers under head coach Brian O’Connor.
• Gelof reached base on a walk in the seventh inning and has now reached safely in 16-straight games dating back to last season.
• Schoch recorded his 14th save of his career in the win, 13 have come in the last two seasons at UMBC.
• Ballestero’s RBI in the seventh that plated the game-winning run was his first of his collegiate career.