BASES CLEARING, 3-run double from Zack Gelof (@ZackG_11)!!!
Hoos are up, 3-2 after five innings!#GoHoos
— Virginia Baseball (@UVABaseball) February 20, 2021
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Down three runs going into the bottom of the ninth, No. 14 Virginia (1-1) got the tying run to third base but was unable to knot the score in a 10-9 loss to UConn at Disharoon Park on Saturday (Feb. 20).
Two runs came across in the bottom of the ninth on an a two-out, UConn error. Logan Michaels (DeForest, Wis.) and Alex Tappen (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) came around to score on fly ball to right field off the bat of Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.). UConn reliever Caleb Wurster overcame the defensive miscue in right field by inducing a game-ending pop up. Wurster pitched the final 2.2 innings and did not allow an earned run while striking out four. The lefty was credited with his first victory of the season.
The Huskies scored eight runs in their final four turns at the plate to help even the three-game series at 1-1. The Virginia pitching staff aided the Huskies late game success by issuing 11 total walks on the afternoon, three with the bases loaded.
“It was a tough, hard-fought game,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “It wasn’t a pretty game with the walks on both sides. I felt like if we were able to get a shutout inning somewhere towards the back part of the game, we’d have a chance to win the game. Every time we got on the scoreboard even when we took the lead in the fifth, we gave it right back to them in the sixth.
UConn captured its first lead of the series with a two-run fourth inning on a two-out RBI single by Chris Brown. The Huskies nine-hitter drove in a game-high four runs in a 2-for-4 effort at the plate.
Junior Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) gave Virginia its only lead of the afternoon with one swing of the bat in the fifth inning. With two outs and the bases loaded he found the gap in right center that cleared the bases and gave Virginia a 5-4 advantage. It proved to be was short-lived after UConn plated four runs in the sixth. The Huskies scored two runs on bases loaded walks and another on a hit by pitch with the bags full.
The Cavaliers battled back in the seventh with their own four-run rally. Tappen delivered a big hit in the frame with an RBI single through the left side that scored Marc Lebreux (Montreal, Canada). Later in the inning, Gelof tied game at seven by scoring on one of two passed balls in the frame.
Virginia starting pitcher Griff McGarry (Portola Valley, Calif.) pitched four innings and struck out nine batters in his first outing of the year. Beginning with the fourth batter of the first inning, the righthander struck out five of the next six batters he faced including the side in the second on 16 pitches. McGarry was charged with two runs and did not factor in the decision.
The rubber game between the two teams is slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. on ACCNX. The Cavaliers will start righthander Mike Vasil (Wellesley, Mass.) on the mound and he will be opposed by righty Jimmy Wang. The contest can also be heard on WINA 1070 AM/98.9 FM and WINA.com
- The victory for UConn was the first against Virginia since March 14, 1981, a 5-4 decision in Greenville, N.C.
- Saturday’s game featured the collegiate debuts of Luke Schauer (Washington, D.C.), Jake Berry (Great Falls, Va.) and Jake Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.).
- Lebreux extended his reached base streak that dates back to last season to 17 games.
- Virginia received multiple-hit efforts from Nick Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) and Tappen (2-for-5, run, RBI).
- Kent also stole his first base of the 2021 season and has been successful in his last seven attempts after going 6-for-6 on stolen base attempts last season.
- The loss snaps a five-game win streak dating back to last season in one-run games.