CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.  – Starting pitcher Evan Blanco did not allow an earned run over 7.1 innings as No. 18 Virginia (38-14, 16-12 ACC) captured a 7-3 win in the series opener against Virginia Tech (32-18, 14-14 ACC) on Thursday (May 16). Head Coach Brian O’Connor collected his 360th career ACC win, surpassing former North Carolina head coach Mike Fox for the seventh-most ACC wins in league history.

SCHEDULE NOTE: First pitch for game two of series has been moved to noon on Friday (May 17). It was originally scheduled for a 6 p.m. start. 

The 7.1 innings was a career long for Blanco and the longest outing by a Cavaliers since Brian Edgington’s complete game in game three of the 2023 Super Regional against Duke. The lefthander needed just two strikeouts and only yielded a pair of unearned runs in the fourth inning. Blanco retired 10 of the last 12 batters he faced and did not allow a runner to reach second in the last 3.1 innings of work.

Virginia never trailed in the contest and scored five of its seven runs on home runs by Eric Becker, Jacob Ference and Harrison Didawick. The solo homer in the fifth inning by Didawick was his 20th long ball of the season. He is the third player in UVA history to hit 20 home runs in a single season (Jake Gelof – 2022 & 2023; Brian Buchanan – 1994).


  • Becker set the tone early with a two-out, two run blast off the scoreboard in right field. The homer was Becker’s seventh on the season and third in his last four starts.
  • Ference continued his tear against league foes in the third inning with a line drove home run over the left field wall to put UVA up 4-0. Ference has 16 homers on the year, tied for the second most on the team, and 12 have come in conference play.
  • Henry Godbout punched single through the right side that scored Didawick and gave UVA a 5-0 advantage after three.
  • The Hokies got on the board after two runs came around after a two-out Cavalier throwing error.
  • Didawick drove a 2-2 pitch against lefthander Matthew Siverling into the UVA bullpen in right field in the bottom of the fifth. Didawick was 3-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI in the contest.
  • Casey Saucke capped the UVA scoring with a single into left center that scored Luke Hanson in the sixth.
  • Chase Hungate the last two outs of the eighth inning and Angelo Tonas pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning to seal the Cavalier victory.


  • Ethan Anderson doubled down the left field line in his first at bat in the first inning. It was his 57th double of his career, two behind Steven Proscia (2009-11) for the second most in program history. Anderson has reached base in a team-high 24-straight games.
  • Becker and Ference extended their reached base streaks to 23 and 21, respectively.
  • Didawick has 67 runs scored on the season, the second-most in the ACC. The 67 runs scored are tied with Kyle Teel (2023), Brandon Downes (2013), Phil Gosselin (2010) for the seventh-most in a single-season in UVA history.


Virginia will send righthander Joe Savino (1-1) to the mound for the middle game on Friday (May 17). The contest will start at noon and air on ACCNX and WINA (98.9 FM/1070 AM/

The Smithfield Commonwealth Clash
The Smithfield Commonwealth Clash, originally called the Commonwealth Challenge (2005-2007), has been a part of the UVA-Virginia Tech rivalry since 2014. It is an all-sports, points-based program with the Commonwealth Clash trophy presented to the winning school each year for its dominance in head-to-head competitions. Virginia has already clinched the title for the 2023-24 academic year, but can add its 14-6.5 lead this weekend with a series victory.