Baseball takes two of three against Duke
Virginia wins first ACC series of season
The Virginia baseball team won its first ACC series of the year against Duke, winning the final two games of the set after dropping the first one.
Though the Cavaliers (19-6, 4-5 ACC) got the series win against the Blue Devils (13-13, 4-5 ACC), the set could not have started out worse for Virginia. Duke blew out the Cavaliers 19-3 in Friday’s matchup. The Blue Devils got on Virginia sophomore starter Daniel Lynch early and often, plating 10 runs on 12 hits during Lynch’s 2.1 inning outing.
Virginia got three runs back in the following innings, one off the bat of junior outfielder Adam Haseley, who cranked his eighth home run of the year. The back end of Virginia’s bullpen collapsed in the final three innings, allowing eight runs to put Duke ahead with an insurmountable lead. The game was by far Virginia’s worst pitching performance of the season, allowing a whopping 26 hits. The Cavaliers did not fare much better at the plate, only mustering three runs against junior starter Mitch Stallings over his seven quality innings.
Nothing went Virginia’s way in Friday’s affair, but the Cavaliers rebounded nicely with a win on Saturday afternoon. The Cavaliers started rolling on offense from the get-go, plating eight runs in the first three innings, including a six-hit, four-run third inning that made Duke call the bullpen.
The Blue Devils would not go quietly, though, scoring six runs in the fourth inning to bring them within two runs. Coach Brian O’Connor yanked sophomore starter Evan Sperling from the game and brought in senior long reliever Alec Bettinger to stop the bleeding. Bettinger did that and more — after allowing the final run of the fourth inning he shut out the Blue Devils in 5.1 innings of relief. Bettinger picked up the win, striking out five and lowering his ERA to 1.52. Junior designated hitter Charlie Cody and junior first baseman Pavin Smith added two-run homers in the final innings to lock up a 13-6 bounce-back win for Virginia.
"That was a great response by our ballclub," O’Connor said. "I was excited to get to the ballpark today and see how our club would respond to a defeat like that. I was really proud of our guys that we came out ready to play and there was a lot of energy. It was a huge bounce-back game and hopefully we can respond again tomorrow."
The Cavaliers locked up the series win Sunday with another 13-6 victory. Haseley started the game for Virginia, and Duke was quick to jump on him, scoring three runs in the first inning. The Cavalier bats responded with a five-run bottom of the first to take the lead. Haseley settled down from there, only allowing one more run in six innings and helping his own cause with a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth as part of a six-running inning. Junior closer Tommy Doyle pitched his second two-inning save of the week, striking out four Blue Devils to earn his sixth save of the season.
The Cavaliers earned their first series win in the ACC, avoiding dropping its first three series of the season.
“The first ACC series win was big for us,” O’Connor said. “It wasn’t how you would draw it up, getting beat like we did on Friday and then to come back and win the last two like we did, but I think there are good lessons there that our guys are learning. I thought the last two days our competitive spirit was better than it had been in some of the previous games.”
Virginia will hit the road Tuesday to take on in-state rival VCU for its next matchup. The Cavaliers will then host Louisville at Davenport Field for an ACC showdown next weekend.