CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia (29-23) will make its 18th appearance in the NCAA Tournament on Friday (June 4) when it takes on host South Carolina (33-21). First pitch is scheduled for noon and the game will be broadcast live on ESPN2.
Game Coverage: In addition to airing live on ESPN2, the contest will also be streamed on ESPN.com and the ESPN app. Friday’s game can be heard locally in Charlottesville on WINA (1070 AM/98.9 FM) and anywhere on WINA.com. Links for the broadcasts and in-game live stats are available on VirginiaSports.com. Fans can also follow the Virginia baseball official twitter account (@UVABaseball) for in-game updates.
PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
Friday – Noon
Virginia: LHP Andrew Abbott (8-5, 2.63 ERA, 89.0 IP, 28 BB, 36 SO)
South Carolina: RHP Brett Kerry (5-1, 1.90 ERA, 52. IP, 9 BB, 83 SO)
- The Cavaliers are in the NCAA Tournament for the 18th time in program history and 15th under head coach Brian O’Connor.
- Virginia returns to the NCAA postseason for the first time since 2017. Virginia reached the NCAA Tournament the first 14 years (2004-2017) of O’Connor’s tenure.
- O’Connor is one of five coaches to reach the NCAA Tournament in each of his first 14 years at the helm.
- The Cavaliers enter Friday winners of seven of their last nine games and 10 of their last 14. Virginia closed the regular season winning six of the last seven and advanced to the semifinals of the ACC Tournament for the first time since 2011.
- Virginia is 13-4 in NCAA Regional opening games and have won nine-straight NCAA Regional openers.
AGAINST SOUTH CAROLINA
- Friday will mark the fourth meeting in the NCAA Tournament between Virginia and South Carolina. The Gamecocks have won the three previous meetings including both in the 2011 College World Series en route to the program’s second-straight National Championship.
- South Carolina has won 10-consecutive games against Virginia dating back to 1978.
- The Gamecocks own a 27-37 advantage in the all-time series that was first played in 1909, a 6-1 Virginia victory.
- Virginia is 15-16 in the NCAA Tournament against SEC schools.
NOTING THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
- Virginia has won six regional championships (2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015) and reached the College World Series four times – 2009, 2011, 2014, 2015.
- The Cavaliers captured the program’s first National Championship in 2015 in a rematch of the 2014 College World Series final. Virginia became the first ACC school to claim a national title since 1955 (Wake Forest).
- Brian O’Connor is one of seven active coaches to win a National Championship.
- Competing in its 18th NCAA tournament, Virginia is 54-38 in NCAA play.
- UVA is 42-21 in the NCAA tournament since 2009, the seventh-most NCAA wins in that span.
- Under Brian O’Connor (since 2004), UVA is 48-32 in the NCAA tournament and 33-22 in regional play.
ABBOTT ON THE BUMP
- Senior Andrew Abbott will start on the mound Friday and enters the contest ranked second in the country in strikeouts (136). He has the lowest ERA (2.63) of any qualified ACC pitcher.
- Virginia has won the last six Andrew Abbott starts and outscoring its opponents 56-5.
- The lefthander has not allowed an earned run in his last 30.1 innings pitched. His last earned run came against Duke on April 23.
- Abbott was a two-time ACC Pitcher of the Week and was the National Player of the Week according to Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA after pitching 7.1 innings of the program’s seventh no-hitter back on May 14 against Wake Forest.
- Five of his staff-best eight quality starts have come in the last five games.
- Abbott became the second Virginia pitcher to eclipse 300 strikeouts with his eight against Notre Dame on May 29. His 136 strikeouts this season are the fourth most in a single season in UVA history, trailing UVA Baseball Hall of Famer Seth Greisinger by five.
- In the three games played in last week’s ACC Tournament, the Cavalier bullpen surrendered just one run over the 10.1 innings of work. In five of the last six games, Virginia relievers have allowed either one or no runs.
- Virginia’s third in the ACC and 18th in the NCAA in both ERA (3.66) and strikeouts (556)
- The Cavaliers have struck out 10 or more batters 35 times this season. Virginia is 22-13 when fanning 10 or more batters in game.
- Reliever Blake Bales has appeared in a staff-best 24 games and sports a 0.48 ERA in 37.2 innings. The righthander was credited with his team-high sixth hold of the season against Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament. He began the year not allowing a run in the first 29.1 innings pitched and has only allowed six of his 23 inherited runners to score. He’s not allowed a run in his last five appearances, a total of 6.2 innings.
- Schoch enters the tournament with seven saves, tied for the second most in the ACC. The sidearmer has 25 career saves to his credit between his time at UMBC and UVA, the fourth most among active pitchers in the NCAA. His 12 career saves in two seasons at Virginia are tied for the 10thmost in program history.
- Senior Kyle Whitten finished off the Virginia Tech game on Tuesday with a nine-pitch ninth inning for his first save of the year. The righthander has 10 career saves, including two in both ends of a doubleheader against Notre Dame in 2019. He came back in the semifinal game and tossed 2.1 innings of 1-hit ball. He has allowed one run over his 10.1 innings pitched.
ACC TOURNAMENT NOTES
- As the No. 8 seed, Virginia won Pool A with a victory over Virginia Tech (3-2) and then ousted top-seeded Notre Dame (14-1). Prior to the 2021 Tournament, both Pool A opponents were the only two teams UVA had not defeated ACC postseason action.
- A two-run homer by Kyle Teel against Virginia Tech in the opening game proved to be the difference in a 3-2 win.
- Against Virginia Tech, starting pitcher Zach Messinger recorded his third win of the year after pitching a career-high 5.1 innings. He allowed two earned runs and struck out six. Four relievers – Brandon Neeck, Blake Bales, Andrew Abbott and Kyle Whitten recorded the final 11 outs to seal the victory.
- Against Notre Dame, Virginia matched its most runs (14) and the largest margin of victory (13) ever in the ACC Tournament in a 14-1 over top-seeded Notre Dame. The Cavaliers hit a season-high four home runs, including three in a five-run second inning.
- Senior Andrew Abbott earned the win after pitching 6.1 scoreless frames and striking out nine. Virginia has scored 56 runs in his last four starts and the lefthander has not allowed a run in his last 30.1 innings pitched.
- Duke eliminated Virginia in the semifinal thanks to three home runs, two off the bat of Joey Loperfido.
- Junior Zack Gelof drove in a career-high five runs in the Pool A clinching win over Notre Dame and blasted his seventh homer of the year. He’s batted in the leadoff spot for 28-straight games, batting .339 (43-for-127), with 10 doubles, five home runs and 24 RBI. The Cavaliers are 18-10 since moving him to the top of the lineup.
- In three ACC Tournament games, Alex Tappen went 4-for-8 with two home runs, including a 417-foot blast against Duke in the semifinals. The senior has hit safely in nine-straight games, the longest active streak on the team. Tappen has started two of the eight games during the streak and is 4-for-13 as a pinch-hitter this year.
- Nic Kent also hit his seventh homer of the season on Friday, six of the seven have come in the last 26 games. The Cavalier shortstop is batting .378 (14-for-37) with two doubles, three homers and 16 RBI over his last 10 games.
- Third Team All-ACC selection Kyle Teel has reached in 15-straight games and has hit safely in seven consecutive contests.