On Tuesday night at Davenport, the Virginia pitching staff brought their A game versus the Radford Highlanders, as Sophomore Bennett Sousa started the game and went five strong, scattering four hits and allowing three runs—only two of which were earned.
Junior Tyler Shambora entered the game in the sixth, after Sousa failed to record an out in allowing two Radford runners to cross the plate. Shambora came in and slammed the door shut on the Highlanders, going the remaining four innings without allowing a single hit, and earning his first save of the year.
This strong pitching performance for the Wahoos was coupled with steady offensive production. In the third, Virginia batted around on Radford starter Tyler Swarmer, hanging five runs on the board.
In the seventh, the Hoos capitalized on three straight walks, which loaded up the bases. A Nygeal Andrews wild pitch to bring home Ernie Clement, followed by a Nate Eikhoff triple produced three more tallies for the home team. Charlie Cody brought home Clement on an RBI groundout to wrap up the scoring in a four-run inning.
In total, the Hoos produced 11 runs on eight hits en route to an 11-3 victory.
The following day, the Wahoos found themselves on the flip side of the coin, going from scoring 11 runs on Tuesday night to surrendering 11 runs to the VCU Rams on Wednesday night. Virginia’s pitching staff struggled all evening as they used a slew of five different pitchers, none of who were able to go more than 2.1 innings.
Virginia junior Holden Grounds made his starting debut on the mound, working two innings and surrendering one run on three hits. He was replaced by Jack Roberts in the third followed by Kevin Doherty, David Rosenberger, and Chesdin Harrington.
The Wahoo pitching staff was touched up for 11 runs on 14 hits, four of which were home runs—a season high for Virginia opponents.
Offensively, the Hoos produced 12 hits, but not enough at the right times. On Tuesday night versus Radford, Virginia’s offensive success came via timely hits, but on Wednesday night, the Wahoos lacked this element of clutchness as they stranded 11 base runners.
The three hour and 21 minute game concluded in an 11-5 VCU victory, VCU’s second win over the Hoos in two chances this season. Following the game, Coach O’Connor addressed his team’s lack of success versus VCU this season:
“If you don’t pitch better than we did, you’re not going to beat a good opponent, and they are a very good opponent. They played really well against us down at their place and again tonight and are deserving to win.”
The Hoos will be on the road this weekend for a tough three game series versus no. 2 Miami, and will not play another home game until they host Georgia Tech for a three game weekend series beginning Friday, May 13th.