CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – No. 7 Louisville (22-11, 14-6 ACC) took the final two games, including an 8-2 win on Sunday (April 18), to capture the weekend series against Virginia (17-17, 9-15 ACC). The series victory for the Cardinals was the first over the Cavaliers since 2017.
Louisville starting pitcher Luke Smith held Virginia scoreless over the first seven innings of the ball game before junior Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) cracked a two-run homer in the eighth to get the Cavaliers on the scoreboard. The homer for Gelof moved him into a tie for the team lead with five on the year and he finished 2-of-4 with two RBI in the contest.
After surrendering back-to-back hits to Tate Ballestero (Morristown, N.J.) and Max Cotier (New Milford, Conn.) in the second inning, Smith sat down the next 14 Virginia hitters before a Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.) single in the seventh. The base hit to left field extended Ortiz’s hit streak to 14 games.
“Luke Smith was outstanding today,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “He was mixing four pitches and had us tied in knots. I thought we had done a pretty good job over the first two games (of the series) really putting the ball in play and having some tough quality at bats. We had some opportunities early in the game that we couldn’t capitalize on where we had chances to take the lead in the first part of the game but couldn’t do it. I thought it was because he (Smith) buckled down and made some great pitches. They (also) played some tremendous defense.”
Louisville took the initial lead in the fifth on a two-out RBI double by Lucas Dunn but changed the course of the game in the fifth with a five-run, nine-batter rally. Trey Leonard hit a two-run home run in the frame and the Cardinals were also aided by two Cavalier fielding errors.
Virginia starting pitcher Nate Savino (Sterling, Va.) pitched into the fifth inning for the second time this season and was charged with three of the Louisville runs that scored. The lefty cruised through the first three innings, allowing only one baserunner.
Chris Newell (Newtown Square, Pa.) scored the only other Cavalier run and finished the day 1-for-3. The sophomore has reached base in five-straight games. In the top of the first inning, he made a leaping catch in center field to take a home run away from Henry Davis.
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The Cavaliers will be on the road in the midweek to visit VCU at the Diamond on Tuesday (April 20). The contest is scheduled for a 7 p.m. first pitch.
- Virginia committed multiple errors for only the fifth time this season, four of the occasions have come in ACC play.
- Louisville hit six home runs in the series, two in each game. Only Notre Dame (7) hit more against UVA in a weekend series this year.
- Brandon Neeck (Chappaqua, N.Y.) fanned a career-high four batters in his longest outing as a Cavalier (2.0 innings).