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Baseball beats William & Mary, proceeds to win weekend series against Clemson 2-1

The Cavaliers are coming in hot to the second half of the season

<p>The team improved to over 0.500 this week with these three wins.</p>

The team improved to over 0.500 this week with these three wins.

Virginia and William & Mary faced off April 6 in what turned out to be a 7-6 thriller. The Cavaliers (16-15, 8-13 ACC) ousted the Tribe (6-17, 3-6 CAA) in a back-and-forth battle at Disharoon Park. Virginia then traveled to Clemson for a three-game weekend series where it would lose the first game but win the final two.

Virginia 7, William & Mary 6

The Cavaliers raced out to a 4-0 lead after the second and third innings, but the Tribe quickly fought back with a two-run fourth inning and closed the gap to one run in the fifth inning.

Junior right-hander Zach Messinger started the game for Virginia, pitching three no-hit innings until surrendering two runs in the fourth and being replaced by senior right-hander Kyle Whitten.

The Cavaliers used six pitchers in the 12-inning bout, but sophomore right-hander Matt Wyatt was credited with the win as he closed out William & Mary in the top of the 12th inning. Wyatt struck out the first Tribe batter and, after giving up a single and a walk, closed the inning out with a fielder’s choice that saw the third out of the inning.

Wyatt notched his second win of the season with a big assist from Virginia’s offense. The Cavaliers scored twice in the bottom of the ninth to survive and won the game on a sacrifice fly from junior infielder Zack Gelof in the bottom of the 12th inning.

Gelof also hit two RBI in the second inning, sparking the Virginia offense on a single which saw senior outfielder Marc Lebreux and sophomore infielder Max Cotier score. 

Senior infielder Devin Ortiz had a two-RBI double in the bottom of the ninth to extend the game after the rocky top of the ninth, when Tribe senior infielder Will Moore launched a three-run homer that put the Tribe up 6-4.

The defensive play of the game came in the top of the 10th when senior outfielder Alex Tappen threw from right field and graduate catcher Logan Michaels tagged out Tribe graduate catcher Matt Trehub at the plate, keeping the score 6-6. Gelof’s winning sacrifice fly in the 12th sealed the deal.

Game 1 — Virginia 1, Clemson 6

Virginia was overwhelmed in the first game against the Tigers (15-13, 9-9 ACC) Friday. Clemson took advantage of uncharacteristically poor pitching from senior left-hander Andrew Abbott to mark 10 hits for the team.

The Tigers were the first to score as they batted in three runs in the third inning. They added two more in the fourth — adding to Abbott’s tally of runs surrendered. On the day, he only pitched 4.2 innings.

The Cavaliers batted in their first and only run of the day during the seventh. Cotier would hit an RBI groundout that scored senior outfielder Brendan Rivoli. This was one hit of only five for Virginia.

The other four hits came from Ortiz, Gelof and junior infielder pinch-hitter Drew Hamrock. Hamrock’s hit was his first of the season, and it came in the ninth — unfortunately too late to make any major difference for the team.

Game 2 — Virginia 8, Clemson 4

The second matchup was much more successful than the first for the Cavaliers. They etched an early 3-0 lead in the second and held on in the end.

The first three runs came courtesy of hits from Gelof and sophomore outfielder Chris Newell. Clemson added a run in the second and the third innings and eventually caught up to Virginia in the fifth — tying the game 3-3. Both teams would score in the sixth as well — the Cavaliers, off the bat of sophomore pinch-hitter Tate Ballestero — and head into the late stages of the game knotted up 4-4.

At the top of the seventh, Gelof broke the tie with a solo homer. This was Gelof’s fourth long ball of this year’s campaign. Newell would add to the Cavaliers’ lead with a three-run shot that would close the game and secure the conference win.

The offensive energy was matched on the defense as well. Junior right-hander Mike Vasil was on the Virginia mound for just over six innings and handed the Tigers eight strikeouts — just one short of his season-high. He was credited with the win but was assisted by junior left-hander Brandon Neeck and senior right-hander Blake Bales.

Game 3 — Virginia 6, Clemson 5

The Sunday rubber match started off with Clemson scoring two runs — one in the first inning and one in the second. The Cavaliers tied it in the fourth inning off a home run from freshman catcher Kyle Teel.

The Tigers bounced right back with two runs in the fifth, and Virginia answered with one of its own. After a scoreless sixth inning, the board showed 4-3 in favor of Clemson.

In the seventh, Virginia rallied with three runs — all with two outs. The first was a single to the opposite field from Rivoli, and the other two were RBIs off the bat of Teel who singled to the left center.

The Tigers added a run in the eighth in a comeback attempt which would prove to be unsuccessful. With graduate right-hander Stephen Schoch in closing position, he saved the game for the 24th time in his collegiate career.

This game secured the second-straight weekend in which the Cavaliers would defeat an ACC opponent. Next, the team will head home to host Old Dominion Wednesday at 5 p.m. — a one-off game that will be broadcast on ACCNX.