In recent ACC postgame press conferences, Virginia baseball players and coaches talked about what they needed to do to turn around their losing streak. They often mentioned the need for one or two more timely hits or the occasional clutch out recorded by a pitcher.
On Monday, the Cavaliers talked about what they did, rather than what they needed to do.
“It’s about time,” senior first baseman Devin Ortiz said.
UVa defeated No. 18 Pittsburgh 10-4 on Monday thanks to six runs scored across the seventh and eighth innings. The Wahoos (9-10, 3-9 ACC) delivered clutch hits when they desperately needed them. The victory breaks the team’s five-game ACC losing streak and salvaged one win from the team’s three-game series with Pitt.
“Proud of our guys, how they bounced back today,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “Obviously the first two games of the series, not how we wanted them to go, but I thought we went on the attack offensively today.”
While the game ended well, it didn’t start quite like the Cavaliers envisioned.
Redshirt senior infielder David Yanni hit his second home run of the series in the top of the second inning. The left-handed batter put Pitt up 1-0 with a deep shot over the right-field wall.
UVa appeared to answer back in the second inning on what seemed like a two-out double by sophomore infielder Max Cotier. The hit, which occurred with a runner on second, was taken away in surprising fashion. It was ruled that Cotier never stepped on first base, and Pitt tagged Cotier out.
The run was taken off the scoreboard.
Despite the momentary heartbreak from the tough call, UVa’s offense didn’t fade. The Cavaliers scored four runs across the third and fourth innings to take a 4-1 lead.
A two-run RBI double down the left-field line from junior infielder Zack Gelof scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Senior outfielder Brendan Rivoli scored Gelof on an RBI single to give UVa a 3-1 edge after three innings.
Freshman Kyle Teel traded a bruise for a run when he was by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fourth. The RBI put the Cavaliers up 4-1.
Pitt kept chipping away, despite solid pitching from UVa starting pitcher Mike Vasil. The junior’s defense put him in a tough position in the top of the fifth. After allowing a single, he induced a fly ball to left field. Rivoli lost it in the sun, and eventually dropped it.
With runners on second and third and no outs, Vasil went to work. A groundout and strikeout kept the runners held on the bases with UVa up 4-1. He induced a ground ball to third base, but Gelof fired the ball wide of first base, allowing two runs to score.
The Panthers came through with another run in the sixth inning. Vasil exited the game after 5 2/3 innings and left a runner on second base. Sophomore left-hander Nate Savino came into the game, and he allowed a single to center field, which scored the run. It was charged to Vasil.
“I though Mike Vasil wasn’t his best, but I thought he battled, I thought he competed,” O’Connor said.
UVa’s offense delivered the knockout blow in the seventh and eighth innings.
Logan Michaels scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI double with runners on second and third. Michaels hit a hard chopper toward the shortstop, who seemed to lose the ball in the sun. It bounded into the outfield and Michaels hustled into second to beat the throw.
“Just trying to do whatever I can to put the ball in play and get some runs on the board,” Michaels said. “When I saw it bounce over his head just naturally took off for second and tried to get aggressive to get another runner in scoring position for whoever was behind me to try to get me in as well.”
Two batters later, Ortiz deposited a ball in the left field seats to put UVa up 8-4. He also homered Sunday.
“It feels good to finally have the ball find some grass or get over the fence,” Ortiz said.
The Cavaliers plated two insurance runs in the ninth. One came on an RBI double from senior Alex Tappen, and the other came on a sacrifice fly from Michaels, who went 2-4 with three RBI.
Sixth-year senior Stephen Schoch struck out four and allowed just one hit in the eighth and ninth innings. UVa’s closer easily slammed the door shut on Pitt’s comeback hopes.