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COLLEGE BASEBALL

Cotier delivers keys hits in Virginia baseball team's win over George Mason

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He’s not an everyday player this season, but Max Cotier continued to make the most of his at-bats in Virginia’s 17-7 win over in-state foe George Mason on Wednesday at Disharoon Park.

Cotier, a junior second baseman for the Hoos, had a two-run triple in the second inning and a two-run single in the third as part of a 2-for-4 performance while contributing in the Cavaliers’ 21st double-digit run effort of the campaign as they won their fifth straight contest.

He’s hitting .417 with runners in scoring position this spring.

The left-handed swinging Cotier’s triple, which was a liner to right-center that got past diving Patriots center fielder South Trimble, provided UVa (32-10) its first lead against George Mason (14-25). His base hit an inning later put the Cavaliers ahead again after the Patriots tallied five runs in the top of the third.

In Sunday’s series-sweeping win against North Carolina, Cotier, who platoons with freshman Justin Rubin currently, had two hits and drove in a pair to help UVa finish off the Tar Heels. Last year, Cotier started 60 games at his position.

On Wednesday, Cotier and company overcame the rough visiting third — a frame the Patriots singled five times and took advantage of two walks issued by UVa pitching to go in front — by scoring three times in the second, third and fourth innings and then blowing it open with a five-run sixth.

In the fourth, Jake Gelof, UVa’s standout slugging sophomore, yanked a solo homer into the left-field bleachers. It was Gelof’s 16th long ball this spring, tying him for the third most ever in a single season at UVa with former Hoos Jarrett Parker (2009) and Joe Koshansky (2004). Gelof’s RBI double in the sixth pushed him to 65 RBI, and that mark knotted him with Parker (2009) and Steven Proscia (2010) for the fifth most RBI in a season at UVa.

Beyond Cotier and Gelof, freshman designated hitter Ethan Anderson was 4-for-4 and reached base in all five of his plate appearances. He scored four runs, had four RBI and a hit in each of the consecutive three-run innings, including a two-run double behind Gelof’s homer in the fourth.

During the middle and later innings, UVa’s bullpen settled in. Dylan Bowers struck out three of the four hitters he faced from the fifth through the sixth and then Avery Mabe followed with a scoreless seventh inning. More importantly, hard-throwing right-hander Matt Wyatt, who was excellent for the Hoos in last year’s postseason, made his first appearance since April 2.

Last week, Hoos skipper Brian O’Connor said was encouraged by what he had seen from Wyatt in his quest to get back on the mound, but that the pitcher was probably at least a week away from throwing in a game. Wyatt struck out a pair during a scoreless eighth before Jake Hodorovich fired a clean ninth.

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