After dropping out of the Top 25, the Virginia Cavaliers (7-5, 2-4 ACC) began an eight-game homestand Tuesday afternoon against a non-conference opponent in the Richmond Spiders (5-3).
Coming off an exceptional outing last Tuesday against George Washington, starting pitcher Nate Savino kept the Spiders at bay in the first, despite allowing two hits. Junior Zach Messinger picked up where Savino left off, going nine-up, nine-down to keep the Spiders scoreless through four. Messinger was electric in his sixth appearance of the year.
The Wahoos got on the board early thanks to a pair of RBI singles by Brendan Rivoli and Kyle Teel in the bottom of the first. Rivoli would later showcase his arm from the outfield, gunning down Dan Leckie at the plate to preserve the Virginia shutout through five. For the Hoos, this play proved pivotal, dampening the Spider’s spirit.
Virginia would add another run in the bottom of the fourth with yet another RBI single, this time off the bat of Quebec-native Marc Lebreux. The Cavaliers continued this trend in the next inning. After maneuvering his way into scoring position with some heads-up baserunning, Zack Gelof hustled his way home on an RBI single from New Jersey’s 2020 Gatorade Player of the Year, Kyle Teel. Teel’s second RBI of the afternoon would extend the Cavalier lead to four runs. Two innings later, Richmond struggled to find the zone, resulting in three more Cavalier runs. The Spider’s sloppy seventh-inning was highlighted by five walks, a passed ball, wild pitch, and a hit by pitch.
Collectively, Virginia’s pitching staff performed phenomenally in their first shutout of the season. The game featured seven total Cavalier pitchers, with Messinger earning a well-deserved win and Brandon Neeck pitching the ninth for the Cavaliers. Offensively, Virginia’s bats combined for twelve hits and six earned runs.
The Cavaliers will look to continue their momentum this Friday in the first of a three-game series against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Just 2-4 in ACC conference play, but 5-1 at home so far this season, Virginia can regain ranked status by dominating this home stretch.