Virginia baseball loses two of three games at No. 15 North Carolina

Cavaliers fall twice by one-run margin

Senior right-hander Chesdin Harrington pitched a career-high five innings of relief without giving up a run in Virginia's loss Saturday. Courtesy Virginia Athletics

The Virginia baseball team (26-20, 10-14 ACC) lost two of three games against No. 15 North Carolina (33-12, 15-9 ACC) over the weekend. The Cavaliers fell by a single run in each of the games they lost.

Game 1: Virginia - 12, North Carolina - 5

Virginia scored 11 of the game’s last 12 runs to beat the Tar Heels Friday.

The Cavaliers got on the board first in the top of the first inning. Sophomore left-fielder Brendan Rivoli singled to right, driving in sophomore shortstop Tanner Morris. 

North Carolina took a 2-1 lead in the third inning against Virginia starting pitcher senior right-hander Noah Murdock. Murdock went 5.1 innings, giving up four runs on seven hits to earn his third win of the season.

Virginia took the lead again in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Morris to drive in senior first baseman Nate Eikhoff and senior designated hitter Jack Weiller and make it 3-2, then Rivoli added another run with an RBI double.

The Tar Heels tied the game up at 4-4 in the bottom of the inning, but Virginia made it 7-4 in the sixth. 

Morris and Rivoli each added more RBIs in the eighth to help put the Cavaliers up 12-4. Morris, who went 3-5 with four RBIs and two runs scored, singled to right to drive in junior right-fielder Cayman Richardson. Rivoli, who was also 3-5 and drove in three runs, doubled to score Morris all the way from first.

North Carolina added a run in the bottom of the eighth, but Virginia hung on to win 12-5.

Game 2: North Carolina - 5, Virginia - 4

The Tar Heels won the second game of the series on a walkoff single with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Virginia scored in the top of the first again Saturday. Senior center fielder Cameron Simmons doubled to right with the bases loaded and put Virginia ahead 2-0. North Carolina then scored a run in the bottom of the frame, then three more in the second and went ahead 4-2.

Senior right-hander Chesdin Harrington came in to pitch for Virginia in the third inning. Harrington went a career-high five innings on the mound and did not give up a run on three hits.

Morris scored on a wild pitch in the third inning, then senior catcher Cameron Comer hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth to drive in Eikhoff and tie the game at 4.

The Cavaliers and Tar Heels remained tied until the bottom of the ninth when North Carolina loaded the bases after two walks, a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk. Junior left-fielder Ashton McGee drove in the winning run with a single to left that scored junior first baseman Michael Busch.

Game 3: North Carolina - 5, Virginia - 4

The Cavaliers lost 5-4 for the second straight day Sunday. 

Virginia scored first once again, this time on a sacrifice fly by Morris in the third inning that drove in Simmons. North Carolina tied the game in the bottom of the third, then Virginia went ahead again in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Richardson to score Rivoli.

North Carolina went ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run homer. The Tar Heels added a run apiece in the sixth and seventh innings and led 5-2 before Virginia’s late comeback attempt.

In the eighth, Weiller drove in Morris with an RBI groundout, then got caught in a rundown between first and second, allowing Rivoli to score. However, the Cavaliers could not score another run and lost the rubber game of the series. 

Virginia next plays Tuesday night on the road against Virginia Commonwealth University. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at The Diamond in Richmond.

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