The Virginia Cavaliers (15-15, 8-13 ACC) traveled to South Carolina this weekend to square off against the Clemson Tigers(15-12, 9-8 ACC). While the Cavaliers lost the first game of the series, Friday night, they were able to rebound and claim the series win against the ACC opponent.
The Clemson offense took a small ball approach in the series opener against the Cavaliers. While the Tigers scored 6 runs on ten hits, 9 of which were singles, with the lone extra base hit being a double off of the bat of shortstop James Parker. The Tigers would score the first five runs of the game, with the top third of the lineup combining for 6 hits and 3 RBI’s. The Clemson pitching staff, headlined by starter Mack Anglin (6IP, 1H, 6K), held the Wahoos to just five hits and one run.
For the Cavaliers, lefty Andrew Abbott took the mound, but did not fare well against the Tigers. Abbott gave up 5 runs and a career-high 8 hits in just 4.2 innings of work. The Cavaliers relief staff was effective, giving up just one run in 3.1 innings of work. The Virginia offense was dormant for most of the game, getting no-hit until the sixth inning. Max Cotier was able to bring in the first Virginia run of the game in the sixth, but it would not be enough as the Cavaliers would lose the opener 6-1.
In game two, a three-run third inning, got the Wahoos off to an early advantage. However, the Tigers refused to go away, as they would slowly chip away at Virginia’s lead until they tied it up in the fifth, thanks to a solo home run by Kier Meredith. The teams would go back-and-forth until a three run eighth inning gave the Wahoos the 8-4 lead and they wouldn’t look back from there. Sophomore outfielder Chris Newell blasted a three-run-shot over the right field fence to put Virginia ahead. Newell and teammate Zack Gelof would combine for four hits and two home runs.
Mike Vassil was on the mound for the Cavaliers and pitched 6.1 innings en route for his team-leading fifth win of the season. The back half of the Virginia bullpen locked things down as Brandon Neeck and Blake Bales shutout the Tigers over the last 2.2 innings.
The back and forth nature of this series continued into Sunday afternoon’s rubber match as Virginia would go on to win the decisive game three by a final score of 6-5. While Clemson held a 2-0 lead early on, thanks to RBI’s from SS James Parker and DH Bryar Hawkings. While the Cavaliers would briefly hold a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning, a two-run bottom of the fifth put Clemson right back ahead. But, in the seventh inning, the Cavalier offense came alive, scoring three runs, thanks to single’s from Brandon Rivoli (2-5, 1RBI) and Kyle Teel (2-4, HR, 4RBI). The Cavaliers would have to use five pitchers to preserve their lead, but Blake Bales (2.2IP, 1H, 3K) would earn his second win of the season, while closer Stephen Schoch would earn his sixth save after throwing two innings of shutout baseball.
The Cavaliers will look to ride the momentum of this in-conference series victory as they return to Charlottesville this Wednesday to face Old Dominion University, followed by a weekend series against the Louisville Cardinals.