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No. 25 baseball wins two of three against No. 7 NC State, sweeps UMass Lowell

In the final five games of their 15-game homestand, the Cavaliers won four

<p>Freshman Max Cotier tied a school record, scoring five runs in one game, against UMass Lowell.</p>

Freshman Max Cotier tied a school record, scoring five runs in one game, against UMass Lowell.

Virginia baseball wrapped up its 15-game home stretch at Disharoon Park with games against No. 7 NC State over the weekend and then UMass Lowell midweek. In the first series of ACC play, the No. 25 Cavaliers (14-4, 2-1 ACC) handed previously undefeated NC State (13-3, 1-2 ACC) two losses. They went on to sweep UMass Lowell (4-11, 0-0 America East) later in a two-game series.

NC State

Game 1 — Virginia 7, NC State 3

After a scoreless first inning, the Cavaliers took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning courtesy of a homer from sophomore left-fielder Jimmy Sullivan. This early boost gave the Cavaliers momentum that endured throughout the game.

On the mound, four Virginia pitchers — junior right-hander Griff McGarry, junior right-hander Blake Bales, junior left-hander Andrew Abbott and senior right-hander Stephen Schoch — struck out a total of 15 batters.

McGarry only allowed one hit in four innings of pitching, and when Bales took over in the fifth, he struck out three batters and left multiple runners stranded at base. Abbott struck out five batters on the mound, and Schoch finished out the game, striking out two and allowing zero runs.

Seven Virginia batters were credited with a hit, and six of those seven were credited with at least one run in the contest.

Game 2 — NC State 6, Virginia 2

Virginia was the first to score in the game, going up 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning. It was sophomore shortstop Nic Kent who ran in to score off the bat of a sacrifice fly by sophomore third baseman Zack Gelof.

NC State went on to score one run in the top of the fourth inning and one in the top of the fifth, but the Cavaliers answered in the bottom of fifth, as freshman center-fielder Chris Newell hit his third home run of the season to tie it up 2-2.

During six innings of pitching, sophomore right-hander Mike Vasil held NC State to only these two runs. Vasil also struck out six batters and was able to leave NC State runners on base.

After Vasil was taken out, the Wolfpack pushed ahead in the seventh and eighth innings and eventually won 6-2, evening the series. Their starting junior left-hander Nick Swiney was ranked first in the country in strikeouts and pitched seven innings in this game while only allowing five hits.

Game 3 — Virginia 10, NC State 3

Virginia was able to clinch the first ACC series of the season with a Sunday afternoon win against the Wolfpack.

Offensively and defensively, Virginia was strong in this win. Only seven hits were allowed throughout the entire game, and eight of the Cavaliers’ nine hitters were credited with a run.

On the mound, freshman left-hander Nate Savino pitched four innings, allowing only one earned run and three hits. This was Savino’s first credited collegiate victory.

Senior right-hander Paul Kosanovich got the Cavaliers out of a bases loaded situation in the fifth by striking out junior right-fielder Devonte Brown. Schoch and Abbott pitched the remaining 3.1 innings of the game, not surrendering a single run.

At bat, Virginia found momentum in the second inning, scoring six runs in that one inning alone — five of the six runs being scored with just two outs. Here, Gelof scored his first of two home runs on the day, his other came during the seventh inning.

Freshman second baseman Max Cotier also helped propel the Cavaliers to win with three hits, four RBIs and a triple.

“Where we’re at in this season, this is a big step for us, certainly,” Coach Brian O’Connor said. “This weekend, I thought we played really really good baseball and I’m happy with what I saw.”

Virginia broke into the rankings at No. 25 after this series and went on to play UMass Lowell just two days later.

UMass Lowell

Game 1 — Virginia 25, UMass Lowell 5

Coming off of a huge weekend against NC State, the Cavaliers swept UMass Lowell in their two-game series.

To open the series, Virginia scored 24 runs — the most in a single game for the program in over 10 years. The Cavaliers scored in all but one turn at the plate and only allowed six hits in the entire game.

Every single Cavalier impressed, whether at bat or on the mound. Cotier tied a school record, becoming the 11th player in Virginia history to score five runs in one game. Additionally, Sullivan, Newell and junior first baseman Devin Ortiz each scored a home run in the game. This brought the team’s total to 22 home runs all season — six shy of tying their 2019 total.

"Certainly, that's one of the most productive days offensively than we've had in our time here," O'Connor said. "I'm proud that our guys stayed with it and played the whole 27 outs and did some really good things both offensively and defensively."

On the mound, freshman right-hander Matt Wyatt pitched four hitless innings and was credited with his first collegiate win. Sophomore left-hander Billy Price, sophomore left-hander Brandon Neeck and graduate student right-hander Evan Sperling also all pitched scoreless during their time out of the bullpen.

This was Virginia’s highest scoring game of the season and their ninth straight game with at least one home run.

Game 2 — Virginia 4, UMass Lowell 3

Heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Cavaliers and the River Hawks were tied 3-3 with underclassmen stars Kent and Cotier scoring the three runs. Gelof also contributed by helping the Cavaliers escape a bases loaded situation in the top of the eighth.

"I said last night that we'd see a completely different club in UMass Lowell today, and we certainly did," O'Connor said. "It was a completely different offensive day [than yesterday] for us, but it's a good lesson — you have to stick to your fundamentals."

The game-winning hit came off the bat of senior pinch-hitter Logan Michaels. He hit a single up the middle, which allowed Newell to run in and break the tie, putting Virginia up 4-3.

Pitching from Schoch closed out the game in the ninth inning, despite a rally attempt and a bases loaded jam from the River Hawks. Schoch was one of six pitchers to take the mound for Virginia. Four of these six pitched clean outings — Schoch, Bales, Kosanovich, and sophomore right-hander Zach Messinger.

The Cavaliers were set to play Pittsburgh in a three-game ACC series scheduled to start Friday at 3 p.m. After the suspension of all University Athletics activities as a result of COVID-19 Thursday, the game will no longer be played as scheduled. The NCAA baseball championship has also been called off after the NCAA canceled all winter and spring championships.