Virginia blasts Notre Dame, advances to tournament semifinals

UVA faces Duke Saturday in the semis

UVA defeats top-seed Notre Dame to advance in the ACC baseball tournament. (Virginia Athletics/ACC)

Charlotte, NC – Virginia (29-22) ousted top-seeded and No. 7 Notre Dame (30-11) from the ACC Tournament with a 14-1 victory at Truist Field on Friday (May 28). The Cavaliers advance to the tournament semifinals for the first time since 2011 and will play Pool D winner, Duke on Saturday (May 29).

The Virginia offense belted a season-high four home runs, three coming in a five-run second inning rally. Junior Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) got the Cavaliers on the board with a two-run shot and was followed by back-to-back blasts from Alex Tappen (Lower Gwynedd, Pa.) and Jake Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.). The homer by Jake Gelof was the first of his collegiate career.

The five-run lead was more than enough for Virginia starting pitcher Andrew Abbott (Republican Grove, Va.). The lefty was credited with his eighth win of the season, the first Cavalier pitcher to reach eight wins since 2017. Abbott logged 6.1 innings, didn’t allow a run and scattered five Notre Dame hits on the afternoon. The ACC’s leader in strikeouts coming into the game, Abbott added nine more to his total and sits at 136 for the season.

In the process, Abbott struck out the 300th batter of his career, a swinging strikeout of the last batter of the sixth inning. The senior is only the second pitcher in the history of the program to eclipse the 300 strikeout mark.

Junior Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) drove in a career-high five runs in a 3-for-5 effort at the plate. He hit the Cavaliers fourth home run of the day, a three-run shot in the fifth inning to make it a 9-0 game. Gelof has now hit safely in nine-straight games, the longest active streak on the team.

Eight of the nine Cavalier hitters in the starting lineup had a hit in the game as the Cavaliers racked a total of 14 in the contest. Kent finished the day 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.

The bottom third of the Virginia lineup comprised by Tappen, Jake Gelof and Chris Newell (Newtown Square, Pa.) were each put forth multi-hit games and combined to go 6-for-12, with six runs scored, two home runs and five RBI.

Relievers Stephen Schoch (Laurel, Md.) and Matt Wyatt (Towson, Md.) were responsible for the final eight outs of the game. The trio including Abbott combined to strikeout 16 batters, the sixth time this season the Cavalier pitching staff has struck out 16 or more in a game.

The semifinal game is set for a 1 p.m. first pitch on Saturday (May 29). The game will air live on ACC Network.

Additional Notes

• The Cavaliers put together a pair of five run rallies in the contest. It marks the second time this season Virginia has had two innings of five or more runs in the same game (Virginia Tech – April 30). Of the 11 five-inning rallies in 2021, 10 have occurred after April 2. Virginia is 18-8 since April 2.

• In the last four Andrew Abbott starts, the Virginia offense has scored 56 runs.

• Eight of the 13 Virginia runs in Friday’s contest came with two outs.

• Freshman Kyle Teel (Mahwah, N.J.) extended his reached base streak to 14 games, tied for the second longest on the team this season.

• Tappen’s home run was his second of the year and extended his hit streak to eight games. Of those eight games, he’s started two of them.