South Carolina Edges Virginia in Regional Baseball Opener

College Sports

Courtesy of Virginia Cavaliers

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (34-21) used a three-run sixth inning to complete a 4-3 come-from behind victory over Virginia (29-24) in the opening game of the NCAA Columbia Regional. The Cavaliers will play fourth-seeded Jacksonville in an elimination game on Saturday (June 5) at noon.

Jake Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) and Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) were responsible for all three Virginia runs. Trailing 1-0 after the first inning, Jake Gelof cracked his second career homer, a solo shot over the left field wall to knot the game at one. A batter later, Zack Gelof hit an opposite field home run over the right field wall to give Virginia the lead. The brothers homered in the same game for the second time in the last three games.

The lead was extended to 3-1 in the fourth when Jake Gelof scored on an infield hit by Zack Gelof. It marked the second hit of a three-hit game for Zack Gelof who finished 3-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI. The long ball in the second was his eighth of the year, moving him into a tie for the team lead. Jake Gelof scored twice in a 1-for-3 effort.

“It was a great college baseball game and unfortunately we came out on the wrong end,” head coach Brian O’Connor. “South Carolina has a great club. They did a nice job out of their bullpen and took advantage of the opportunities they got in the sixth inning. We had our opportunities as well just didn’t cash in. Two really great teams going at it and unfortunately we were on the wrong side of it.”

Starting pitcher Andrew Abbott (Republican Grove, Va.) surrendered a two-out, solo home run by Wes Clarke in the bottom of the first inning. It was Clarke’s 23rd of the season, the most of any hitter in college baseball. After allowing the long ball, Abbott settled in and retired 13 of the next 14 batters including 10-straight beginning with the last out of the first.

After a leadoff walk in the sixth, Abbott retired the next two batters before two-straight ground rule doubles off the bats of Clarke and Josiah Sightler that tied the game. South Carolina took the lead for good with a single through the left side by Colin Burgess, capping a three-run frame.

Abbott struck out six in 5.2 innings of work and left the game tied with a runner on second base. The lefthander moved into sole possession of third place on UVA’s single-season strikeout list with his 142nd strikeout of the season, fanning Brady Allen in the sixth.

Virginia out-hit South Carolina 7-6 with additional base knocks from Brendan Rivoli (Douglassville, Pa.)Logan Michaels (DeForest, Wis.) and Chris Newell (Newtown Square, Pa.).

Reliever Zach Messinger (Chandler, Ind.) kept it a one run game, stranding two in the sixth and allowed only one runner over 2.1 innings of scoreless relief. He struck out three batters in his 23rd appearance of the year.

Additional Notes

• The home run by Wes Clarke in the bottom of the first snapped a 31-inning streak of not allowing an earned run for Abbott.

• Kyle Teel (Mahwah, N.J.) drew a walk in the third, extending his reached base streak to 16 games, the second longest of any Cavalier this season (Zack Gelof – 17).

• South Carolina scored all four of its runs with two outs.

• The Cavaliers had been on the right side of the last eight one-run games before Friday’s loss. Virginia drops to 11-6 in games decided by one run this season.

• The Cavaliers have out-hit their opponents 32 times this season and have lost only seven of those games including Friday’s loss.

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