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A closer look at Andrew Abbott’s 16-strikeout performance in Virginia's combined no-hitter
COLLEGE BASEBALL

A closer look at Andrew Abbott’s 16-strikeout performance in Virginia's combined no-hitter

Andrew Abbott thought he had his best stuff during his warm-up session on Friday. After two innings, Virginia’s senior lefty was certain he had it. “I kind of knew it from the warm-up bullpen at the beginning,” Abbott said. “I was like, ‘OK, I’m hitting spots. Everything’s coming out well,’ but really in the game it probably was the second inning after I K’d the six straight guys. I was kind of thinking to myself, ‘OK, I got my good stuff going. They’re not picking it up, so let’s just keep it going as long as I can.’” He kept it going for a while in the final home start of his Virginia career. Abbott struck out the first eight batters of Friday night’s 17-0 win over Wake Forest. He finished the night with 16 strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit over 7 1/3 innings. Freshman Jake Berry finished off the eighth inning, and Senior Griff McGarry closed out the game in the ninth to put the final touches on a combined no-hitter, the seventh no-hitter in program history. The only thing that slowed Abbott on Friday was his pitch count. With a likely future in professional baseball, head coach Brian O’Connor and pitching coach Drew Dickinson didn’t want to push Abbott’s arm too much. With a short week next week — Abbott is projected to throw Thursday at Boston College — Virginia’s coaches didn’t want Abbott going too far over 100 pitches. “By the time we got to the sixth inning, there was no way that he was gonna finish the game,” O’Connor said. O’Connor planned to take Abbott out of the game after 99 pitches thrown through seven frames, but the starter objected. In what would be his final game at Disharoon Park, Abbott wanted to be removed from the game during an inning, so he could wave to fans as he departed the game. “I said, ‘Let me go out there and let me get one more out, and then you can take me out,’” Abbott said. “’I just want to walk and wave to the fans as my goodbye.’” He asked for one final batter. O’Connor and Dickinson obliged. Fittingly, Abbott delivered a strikeout. He left the field to raucous applause, striking out 16 batters and allowing just two walks. Abbott’s teammates came out of the dugout to cheer for his effort, even the pitchers in the right-field bullpen came out onto the field to tip their hats to Abbott. The moment was particularly memorable for McGarry, Abbott’s roommate of three years. “When he was walking off the mound, it was hard not to get emotional,” McGarry said. “I mean, four years here, incredible every single year. That was really a sight to see, and I’ll never forget 1-6 walking to the dugout.” McGarry had to shake off the emotions after Berry recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning. Virginia’s combined no-hitter was still alive, and O’Connor wanted McGarry to close it out. Entering the season, the senior right-hander was part of a dynamic three-man rotation. He joined Abbott and junior Mike Vasil, and the trio was expected to be among the best in the ACC. Abbott and Vasil lived up to the hype, but McGarry struggled with command and was moved out of the rotation. He’s currently a bullpen option. While not an easy transition, especially for a senior, McGarry hasn’t sulked. He hit 99 mph on the radar gun Friday, throwing gas and striking out three batters while yielding one walk to secure a combined no-hitter for the Hoos. “Awesome,” O’Connor said. “I’m so happy for him, that he can finish the game on the mound. It’s obviously Senior Day on Sunday, and he’s meant so much to our baseball program and to get him out there and him to pitch so well as great and refreshing to see. If he could throw the ball like that, that’s a game-changer for us moving forward.” McGarry looked like the best version of himself Friday night. As McGarry recorded the final punch out, he let out a yell and headed toward the dugout on the third-base line, where he was greeted by his teammates. His goal as he entered a crowd of his peers: find his roommate. “It was a rush of emotion,” McGarry said. “My immediate thought was, ‘Where’s Abb? Where’s Abbott? Where’s Abb?’ I just wanted to give him a big hug.”

Andrew Abbott thought he had his best stuff during his warm-up session on Friday.

After two innings, Virginia’s senior lefty was certain he had it.

“I kind of knew it from the warm-up bullpen at the beginning,” Abbott said. “I was like, ‘OK, I’m hitting spots. Everything’s coming out well,’ but really in the game it probably was the second inning after I K’d the six straight guys. I was kind of thinking to myself, ‘OK, I got my good stuff going. They’re not picking it up, so let’s just keep it going as long as I can.’”

He kept it going for a while in the final home start of his Virginia career.

Abbott struck out the first eight batters of Friday night’s 17-0 win over Wake Forest. He finished the night with 16 strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit over 7 1/3 innings. Freshman Jake Berry finished off the eighth inning, and Senior Griff McGarry closed out the game in the ninth to put the final touches on a combined no-hitter, the seventh no-hitter in program history.

The only thing that slowed Abbott on Friday was his pitch count.

With a likely future in professional baseball, head coach Brian O’Connor and pitching coach Drew Dickinson didn’t want to push Abbott’s arm too much. With a short week next week — Abbott is projected to throw Thursday at Boston College — Virginia’s coaches didn’t want Abbott going too far over 100 pitches.

“By the time we got to the sixth inning, there was no way that he was gonna finish the game,” O’Connor said.

O’Connor planned to take Abbott out of the game after 99 pitches thrown through seven frames, but the starter objected. In what would be his final game at Disharoon Park, Abbott wanted to be removed from the game during an inning, so he could wave to fans as he departed the game.

“I said, ‘Let me go out there and let me get one more out, and then you can take me out,’” Abbott said. “’I just want to walk and wave to the fans as my goodbye.’”

He asked for one final batter. O’Connor and Dickinson obliged.

Fittingly, Abbott delivered a strikeout.

He left the field to raucous applause, striking out 16 batters and allowing just two walks. Abbott’s teammates came out of the dugout to cheer for his effort, even the pitchers in the right-field bullpen came out onto the field to tip their hats to Abbott.

The moment was particularly memorable for McGarry, Abbott’s roommate of three years.

“When he was walking off the mound, it was hard not to get emotional,” McGarry said. “I mean, four years here, incredible every single year. That was really a sight to see, and I’ll never forget 1-6 walking to the dugout.”

McGarry had to shake off the emotions after Berry recorded the final two outs of the eighth inning. Virginia’s combined no-hitter was still alive, and O’Connor wanted McGarry to close it out.

Entering the season, the senior right-hander was part of a dynamic three-man rotation. He joined Abbott and junior Mike Vasil, and the trio was expected to be among the best in the ACC. Abbott and Vasil lived up to the hype, but McGarry struggled with command and was moved out of the rotation. He’s currently a bullpen option.

While not an easy transition, especially for a senior, McGarry hasn’t sulked. He hit 99 mph on the radar gun Friday, throwing gas and striking out three batters while yielding one walk to secure a combined no-hitter for the Hoos.

“Awesome,” O’Connor said. “I’m so happy for him, that he can finish the game on the mound. It’s obviously Senior Day on Sunday, and he’s meant so much to our baseball program and to get him out there and him to pitch so well as great and refreshing to see. If he could throw the ball like that, that’s a game-changer for us moving forward.”

McGarry looked like the best version of himself Friday night.

As McGarry recorded the final punch out, he let out a yell and headed toward the dugout on the third-base line, where he was greeted by his teammates. His goal as he entered a crowd of his peers: find his roommate.

“It was a rush of emotion,” McGarry said. “My immediate thought was, ‘Where’s Abb? Where’s Abbott? Where’s Abb?’ I just wanted to give him a big hug.”

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