CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia (8-3) won its fourth-straight game and in the process clinched the three-game series against Dartmouth (2-4) with a 12-4 victory at Disharoon Park on Saturday afternoon (Feb. 29). The Cavaliers hit a total of three home runs and scored seven of their 12 runs in the final two turns at the plate.
After Dartmouth tied the game up at one in the top of the fourth, the Cavaliers responded with a three-run rally in the fourth and didn’t relinquish the lead from there. Junior Christian Hlinka (Frenchtown, N.J.) put Virginia up for good with his team-leading fourth home run, a two-run shot to break the 1-1 tie. It was his fourth home run in 19 at bats this season and he came into the game tied for second in the ACC in home runs.
Freshman Jimmy Sullivan (Wethersfield, Conn.) followed Hlinka with moonshot off the top of the scoreboard in right centerfield for his first career homer. The start in left field was his first since getting the nod in the nightcap of a doubleheader in the season-opening series against Oklahoma. He came into the series with four at bats and finished 1-for-3 in Saturday’s contest.
Virginia put the game out of reach in the bottom of the eight with a six-run outburst, the third time it has posted five or more runs in a single-inning in the series. The big hit of the frame came off the bat of Chris Newell (Newtown Square, Pa.) who cleared the bases with his first collegiate triple. In yesterday’s contest he hit a grand slam in the seventh and now has seven RBI in two games. He finished Saturday with three hits and scored two runs.
Cavalier starting pitcher Mike Vasil (Wellesley, Mass.) earned his second win of the season by turning in his second-straight quality start. The right-hander grinded through six innings, allowed two runs and struck out three batters.
“I was proud of our guys when Dartmouth closed the gap there and (we knew) they’re not going to go away,” said head coach Brian O’Connor. “They’re a scrappy club that clawed back in it and I was proud of our guys that they were able to extend our lead there in the seventh and eighth innings. The best thing for me to see and we’ve been stressing it a lot lately is the last column on the scoreboard in the fact that we did not have any errors.”
For the second-straight game, each player in the starting lineup recorded a hit as the Cavaliers followed a season-high 22-hit performance on Friday with 16 base knocks on Saturday afternoon. Virginia has posted 10 or more runs in five of the last six games.
Sophomore Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) collected yet another multi-hit game, his sixth in-a-row. In the bottom of the first inning he hit an inside the park home run on a ball driven to centerfield. In a 5-4 game in the seventh, he tripled to lead-off the inning and scored on a wild pitch to give the Cavaliers a two-run cushion. Gelof reached base three times and was 2-for-3 with a home run, a triple and three runs scored.
The Virginia lineup saw two-hit games from Marc Lebreux (Montreal, Quebec, Canada), Max Cotier (New Milford, Conn.) and Devin Oritz (Nutley, N.J.) Lebreux reached base four times in a 2-for-3, three-run effort and batted in the cleanup spot for the first time.
The three-game series against Dartmouth concludes on Sunday (March 1) at noon. The Cavaliers will have lefty Nate Savino on the bump while the Big Green will send righthander Justin Murray to the mound.
• The inside the park home run by Gelof was the first since Danny Hultzen rounded all four bases against Richmond on April 20, 2011.
• The Cavaliers are now winners of 19 of the last 20 games against non-conference opponents at Disharoon Park.
• Under Brian O’Connor, Virginia is 19-2 against Ivy League schools.