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Virginia falls 5-3 at VCU in midweek matchup

The Cavaliers couldn’t overcome the deficit after the Rams took a 3-0 lead in the first inning

<p>Virginia and VCU have been going neck-to-neck in recent games, as the last four meetings between the teams have been decided by one or two runs.</p>

Virginia and VCU have been going neck-to-neck in recent games, as the last four meetings between the teams have been decided by one or two runs.

Virginia traveled to Richmond on Tuesday to play VCU at The Diamond, dropping the midweek contest 5-3 in the first meeting of the season for these two teams. After giving up an early 3-0 lead in the first inning of play, the Cavaliers (17-18, 9-15 ACC) came up short despite making it a one-run game in the eighth. 

While the Rams (22-14, 5-3 A10) hit an early stride in the bottom of the first, grinding out three runs to take a comfortable lead, Virginia responded with a run in the top of the second with a run of its own. Graduate catcher Logan Michaels scored junior shortstop Nic Kent from first base with a two-out RBI double to cut the deficit to two runs.

Both teams remained scoreless until the fifth inning when the Cavaliers tacked on another run to get within one of the VCU lead. Kent scored again — this time off a double by junior third-baseman Zack Gelof. Virginia’s final run was yet another product of a double as senior left-fielder Brendan Rivoli brought sophomore second-baseman Max Cotier across home plate in the top of the eighth, making it a one-run game. In response, however, the Rams added an extra run of insurance in the bottom of the inning to produce the 5-3 final. 

Senior starting pitcher Griff McGarry was replaced by junior right-hander Zach Messinger after a difficult first inning and, despite the loss, Messinger had an outstanding outing on the mound. He retired the final three batters to limit the early damage and returned to strike out the side in the second inning on 12 pitches. The right-hander went on to strike out a career-high 10 batters in 4.1 scoreless innings. The 10 strikeouts came in the final 12 batters he faced and was the third time a Virginia pitcher has recorded strikeouts in the double-digits this season. 

Rivoli recorded his 14th multi-hit game of the season, finishing the day 2-for-4 at the plate. Kent had a similarly productive night as he reached bases in all four at-bats and went 2-for-2 with a stolen base. 

Virginia will have another shot at VCU later in the season as the Rams travel to Charlottesville May 4. With the loss, the Cavaliers are 7-8 on the road and 6-2 against midweek opponents. 

Returning to Charlottesville, Virginia will take on Duke at Disharoon Park on Friday in the first installment of a three-game series. Game time is slated for 6 p.m. and will broadcast on the ACC Network.