WE. ARE. TIED.
More 9th inning heroics from the Hoos, Devin Ortiz cracks his 5th HR of the year!
7-7 in the bottom of the 9th!#GoHoos
— Virginia Baseball (@UVABaseball) April 17, 2021
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia (17-15, 9-13 ACC) tied the game in the bottom of the ninth and plated the game-winning run in the 10th in an 8-7 victory over No. 7 Louisville (20-11, 12-6 ACC) on Friday (April 16) at Disharoon Park. The Cavaliers erased a six-run deficit to claim their third come-from-behind victory in the last five games.
Senior Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.) lined a first pitch fastball over the left field wall in the ninth to knot the game up at seven. The home run was his team-leading fifth of the year and put an exclamation point on his first three-hit game of his Cavalier career. He finished the day 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI.
That solo shot set the stage for the bottom of the 10th when Logan Michaels (DeForest, Wis.) came around to score from second after a ground ball off the bat of Brendan Rivoli (Douglassville, Pa.) went under the glove of the Louisville second baseman. The opportunity for Rivoli was made possible by Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) who earned a walk in the at bat prior after being down 0-2 in the count and ultimately won a nine-pitch battle against Cardinal reliever Adam Elliott.
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“Overall, really proud of our club tonight,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “Louisville has an excellent team and can beat you in a number of different ways. They were up 7-1 on us and that five-run inning in the fifth was a great response. We were the home team and I felt confident that we’d be able to get another run or two in the back half of the game. I’m just really proud of our fight.”
The game-changing rally for UVA in the fifth featured six Cavalier hits and a total of nine batters came to the plate. After an Ortiz single to make it 7-2, Virginia rattled off three-straight two-out RBI hits and pulled within a run on a double by Chris Newell (Newtown Square, Pa.) that scored two runs.
Virginia scored five of its eight runs on the night with two outs.
On the mound, Blake Bales (Schoolcraft, Mich.) continued his unprecedented success out of the bullpen by pitching 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. The righthander stranded an inherited runner in the sixth and pitched himself out of a jam in the seventh where Louisville had runners at the corners with nobody out. He stranded two more Cardinal runners in the eighth and kept the game at 7-6. Bales has not allowed a run in 29.1 inning pitched this season.
Closer Stephen Schoch (Laurel, Md.) faced just seven batters in his two innings of work and recorded his first win of the 2021 season.
Starting pitcher Andrew Abbott (Republican Grove, Va.) struck out 11 batters but surrendered six earned runs on the night. Home runs by Dalton Rushing and Alex Binelas accounted for five of the seven Louisville runs. Abbott sits at 242 strikeouts for his career and moved from 11th to ninth place all-time on UVA’s career strikeout list.
The Cavaliers have the chance to clinch the series on Saturday (April 17) with the middle game of a three-game series that is scheduled for 4 p.m. The Cavaliers will have Mike Vasil (5-2) on the mound and he will be opposed by lefty Luke Seed (0-0).
- Friday marked the 20th time this season Virginia has struck out 10 or more batters and was the fifth time in the last seven games. Virginia is 12-8 when striking out more than 10 in a game.
- The Cavaliers improve to 6-2 in the month of April and have won seven of the last nine games.
- Virginia had two comeback wins in the first 27 games of the season and have three in the last five.
- The Virginia lineup combined for 14 hits, the most in an ACC game this season and the most since collecting 14 against VMI on Feb. 23.
- Since 2019 Virginia was 0-32 when trailing after eight innings until Friday’s walk-off victory.
- The victory was Virginia’s first in an opening game of an ACC series this season (1-6).