The Virginia baseball team opened the season at the Blue Wahoos Stadium in Pensacola, Fla. with a three-game series against No. 24 Oklahoma. The Cavaliers (1-2, 0-0 ACC) overwhelmed the Sooners (2-1, 0-0 Big 12) 6-0 in the first game — their first opening day shutout in over a decade. But Saturday’s weather-induced doubleheader was all Oklahoma.
Game 1: Virginia 6, Oklahoma 0
Virginia took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. After stealing second base, sophomore shortstop Nic Kent was able to score thanks to a hit into right field from freshman second baseman Max Cotier.
Both teams found themselves scoreless for the next three innings. At the bottom of the fifth, junior first baseman Devin Ortiz hit a double with a strong hit to the wall, giving senior catcher Logan Michaels enough time to run from first base and score.
At the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cavaliers upped their lead by four, bringing the score up 6-0. Two came off the bat of junior left-fielder Marc Lebreux, and one came after an impressive double-steal from freshman center-fielder Chris Newell.
Four Cavalier pitchers struck out the Sooners in the game — in five innings, junior right-hander Griff McGarry struck out seven batters and only allowed just one hit. Consistent pitching from junior right-hander Kyle Whitten, junior left-hander Andrew Abbott and senior right-hander Stephen Schoch also contributed to holding the Sooners to a scoreless final four innings during the game.
Game 2: Oklahoma 7, Virginia 2
Hoping to continue the success of the opening day shutout, the Cavaliers fell to Oklahoma 7-2 in the second game of the series.
The Sooners set the tone early when they scored six runs in their first five turns at the plate, leaving Virginia in the dust.
Virginia was unable to get on the board until the top of the fifth inning when sophomore left-fielder Drew Hamrock ran from second base to score off of a left-sided single from Kent. Later that inning, Newell also scored — the Cavaliers remained scoreless for the rest of the game.
In the final innings, underclassmen pitchers stepped up to the plate and kept Oklahoma’s momentum at bay. Notably, sophomore right-hander Zach Messinger struck out a career-high six of eight batters, and freshman left-hander Jacob Baldino had a perfect eighth inning, giving up just one run at the top of the ninth in his first collegiate game.
The loss snapped a 12-game winning streak for Virginia against non-conference teams.
Game 3: Oklahoma 5, Virginia 1
After the loss, the Cavaliers were unable to find their footing in the final game of the series. They ultimately fell to Oklahoma 5-1.
Sophomore right-hander Mike Vasil pitched the first four innings of the game, striking out the Sooners four times and holding them to only one run.
The Cavaliers soon tied things up with a point in the bottom of the fifth inning. The run came off of Michaels, who broke up a no-hitter from Oklahoma junior right-hander Dane Acker that allowed Ortiz to run in and score.
The score remained fixed until the top of the seventh inning when Oklahoma junior first-baseman Tyler Hardman hit a two-run homer over the left field wall. The Sooners found another two runs at the top of the ninth on a single two-out hit off of the bat of Hardman, allowing them to serve Virginia their second loss of the season.
The Cavaliers face Virginia Military Institute Tuesday at 3 p.m. in their home-opener at Disharoon Park.