BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Virginia (3-0) finished the Jerry Bryson Classic with an 8-3 win over NJIT (2-1) on Sunday (Feb. 20). The Cavaliers picked up wins over Bellarmine, host Gardner-Webb and NJIT in the three-day tournament.
The Cavalier pitching staff turned in its second-straight double-digit strikeout effort, fanning 16 Highlander hitters on the day. Every Cavalier in the lineup recorded a hit, including multi-hit efforts from Chris Newell, Devin Ortiz and Colin Tuft.
Making his first start on the mound as a Cavalier, graduate transfer Brian Gursky earned the victory after striking out a career-high eight over five innings. The lefthander retired the first nine batters he faced. His only blemish came in the fourth when he surrendered two runs including a solo homer to Albert Choi to lead off the frame. Gursky finished his outing by striking out three of the last five batters he faced.
Virginia jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a two-out RBI single by Max Cotier in the second and an RBI single by Chris Newell in the third. The Highlanders knotted the game at two in the fourth with three-straight hits to lead off the frame.
The stalemate did not last long as Virginia scored six runs over the next two frames including four in the top of the fifth. After back-to-back RBI doubles by Newell and Casey Saucke, sophomore Jake Gelof put the Cavaliers ahead 6-2 with his first home run of the spring, a two-run shot that cleared the left field wall with plenty of room to spare.
The Cavaliers tacked on two more runs in the sixth courtesy of an Alex Tappen two-run single.
Reliever Luke Schauer struck out five of the first six batters he faced in his first outing of the year. He came on in the sixth and got UVA out of a bases loaded jam with strikeout of Nick Hussey. Schauer struck out the side in the seventh and the first batter of the eighth.
Jacob Hodorovich recorded the final two outs of the eight with a pair of strikeouts. In his second appearance of the weekend, Matt Wyatt worked around a hit and a walk in a scoreless ninth.
UP NEXT: Virginia will begin a nine-game game homestand with its home opener against VMI on Tuesday (Feb. 22). First pitch at Disharoon Park is scheduled for 3 p.m.
From Head Coach Brian O’Connor
“Brian Gursky pitched well for us all fall and certainly earned his start today. I thought he was terrific. I was proud in the fact that we were able to get through the weekend without committing an error. From an offensive standpoint, it’s always tough this time of year and this weekend with the wind was certainly a factor. I’ve always said that wind is the great equalizer. NJIT returned seven guys from last year’s team and is a very good ball club. I expect them to be back in the tournament this year.”
- Virginia improved to 3-0 to start the season for the first time since 2017 and the eighth time (2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2021) under Brian O’Connor.
• Gursky and Dylan Bowers, both graduate transfers from Southern California and Northern Colorado, respectively made their UVA debuts.
- Sophomore Kyle Teel went 1-for-4 with a walk and a run, extending his reached base streak that dates back to last season to 29 games.
- The two runs in the fourth inning snapped a 21-inning opponent scoreless streak.