The Virginia baseball team recorded just one hit Saturday. But that one hit packed a mighty punch, and it proved to be enough to earn a win.
The Cavaliers went hitless for four innings before loading the bases in the bottom of the fifth thanks to three walks. Devin Ortiz stepped to the plate and ripped a ball into left-center field. The senior first baseman’s triple cleared the bases, and Ortiz scored on a throwing error.
Behind Ortiz’s critical hit and stellar pitching from senior starter Andrew Abbott, UVa picked up a 4-0 win Saturday to even its weekend series with Miami (11-8, 6-7 ACC).
“It’s just finding ways to win,” Ortiz said. “That’s my biggest thing is finding ways to win. It doesn’t matter how you do it. It doesn’t have to be pretty all the time.”
Abbott and Miami freshman pitcher Victor Mederos battled in the first four innings. Mederos cruised, while Abbott worked out of an occasional jam and kept Miami off the board.
The Hurricanes’ youngster struggled in the fifth, however, while Abbott kept dealing. Mederos issued three walks in the fifth before Ortiz launched a ball into left-center field. The freshman didn’t finish the fifth.
Ortiz delivered the key hit, and the triple continues a hot stretch for him. He’s hit a home run in three of the team’s last five games after not hitting a home run in any of Virginia’s first 15 contests.
With a lead, Abbott attacked the zone. He allowed a single to open the sixth, but quickly added a pair of strikeouts and a fly out to end the sixth inning.
“That inning, to me, was just trying to get our team back into the dugout as quickly as possible,” Abbott said. “Our hitters had just scored. It’s very important for the pitcher to go out after the hitters do their job and score runs for you to post a zero.”
He finished the game throwing eight shutout innings, allowing four hits and walking two, while also adding seven strikeouts. The victory is Abbott’s second this spring since sliding into a starting pitcher role. He previously served as an option out of the bullpen.
Blake Bales finished the job in the ninth inning for Virginia (10-12, 4-10 ACC). He allowed one hit and ended the game with a strikeout that thrilled the UVa fans in attendance.
UVa’s offense didn’t do much Saturday. The Cavaliers ended up with just one hit, but Ortiz delivered a three-RBI triple with the team’s lone hit. It was enough to earn a victory.
A timely hit and superb pitching helped Virginia pick up a win in the second game of the series. For the first time this season, Virginia enters an ACC series finale with a chance to win the series. Prior to Saturday, the Cavaliers were 0-9 in the first two games of ACC series play.
“We’re not easy people to play,” Abbott said. “No team is gonna come in here and say, ‘Oh, this is gonna be an easy weekend for us.’ We know that and we know how good we are, and you saw today, just one good hit can change the fortune of a whole game.”
Junior right-handed pitcher Mike Vasil is expected to take the mound for Virginia in Sunday’s series finale, which is scheduled for 1 p.m. After Saturday’s victory, the Cavaliers have a chance to win their first ACC series of the season.
“At the end of the year, they don’t look at how many hits you had in the games you won, they look at whether you won or lost,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “We’ll take it and move on and play even better tomorrow.”