Friday afternoon, the University of Virginia Cavaliers (29-22) upset the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (30-11) by a final score of 14-1. It was an impressive performance all-around from the Cavaliers as an exemplary showing on offense and defense helped Virginia advance out of ACC pool play.
On a hot and humid day in Charlotte, North Carolina, the action began for Virginia in the bottom of the second with not one, not two, but three home runs to put them ahead by four runs over the number one ranked Fighting Irish. Nic Kent (1 HR, 2 RBI) kickstarted the offense with his two run home run that brought Ortiz across home plate. From here, Virginia continued to fire on all cylinders as Alex Tappen (1 HR, 2 RBI) and Jake Gelof (1 HR, 1 RBI) both sent balls beyond the outfield wall to force Notre Dame into removing their John Michael Bertrand after just one inning. Tanner Kohlhepp (3.2 IP) came on in relief with Aidan Tyrell (3.2 IP), Joe Sheridan (0.1 IP), and Jack Brannigan (0.1 IP) following behind on the mound.
While Notre Dame tried to turn the tides in their favor, the Cavaliers remained dominant throughout the afternoon. Despite managing to slow down the Virginia offense in the third, Notre Dame failed to contain the Cavalier’s explosiveness for long, as Devin Ortiz’s RBI single in the top of the fourth increased their lead to six. But the Hoos still weren’t done just yet. Following in his younger brother’s footsteps, Zack Gelof (1 HR, 5RBI) crushed the Cavalier’s fourth home run of the day, bringing home two additional Virginia baserunners. Up 9-0, the Cavalier offense closed the day with an additional five runs in the top of the ninth, after loading the bases for the first time of the afternoon.
However, it was not only the Cavalier offense that contributed to this incredible victory. Andrew Abbott, who started on the mound, ended the day with 101 pitches and 9 strikeouts through 7 scoreless innings pitched. The Cavaliers remained fairly conservative in the bullpen, largely because of Abbott’s successes. Stephen Schoch (0.2 IP) and Matt Wyatt (2.0 IP) closed up the final two innings of the game. While Notre Dame managed to earn one run in the bottom of the ninth, it was of little significance in a victory this dominant.
With the win, the Cavaliers will advance to the conference semifinals against Duke, on Saturday May 29, at 1:00 on the ACCNX in Charlotte NC.