Columbia, SC – After losing the opening game of the NCAA Columbia Regional on Friday (June 4), Virginia (33-24) rallied to win four-straight games, the latest on a walk-off home run by senior Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.) in the tenth inning to defeat top seeded Old Dominion (44-16) by a score of 4-3 on Tuesday (June 8). The Cavaliers advance to the NCAA Super Regionals for the seventh time in program history and the first time since 2015.
Ortiz began the game as the Cavaliers’ starting pitcher and tossed four scoreless innings in only his third pitching appearance of the 2021 season. The start was the first of his career and he struck out six batters and allowed one hit. Ortiz remained in the game as the team’s designated hitter and found himself up with one out in the bottom of the 10th. He drove a 1-1 pitch from ODU’s Aaron Holiday over the left field wall to send the Virginia dugout into a frenzy.
The walk-off home run was the first in Virginia NCAA postseason history and the first walk-off homer in any game in over eight years.
Ortiz was named the Columbia Regional’s Most Outstanding Player after going 7-for-21 (.333) with a double, two home runs and a team-best six RBI in five games. He was 2-for-4 in Tuesday’s contest and the home run was his eighth of the year, moving him into a tie for the club lead.
Neither team scored over the first five innings of play and Old Dominion starting pitcher Hunter Gregory sat down the first 16 batters he faced. A Logan Michaels (DeForest, Wis.) double in the sixth broke up the perfect game and ended the day for the righthander.
Closer Stephen Schoch (Laurel, Md.) kept Virginia in the ball game and was credited with his fourth win of the year. He pitched a season-high 3.1 innings, allowed an earned run and struck out five batters. After the go-ahead ODU run scored in the eighth he pitched two scoreless frames to help setup the Virginia late-game heroics. Schoch also picked off a runner at second as soon as he entered the game in the seventh to end the inning.
The Cavaliers came-from behind twice in the contest. Trailing 1-0 in the seventh, Virginia tied up the game up on an RBI ground out by Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) in the seventh inning. The ground out was originally a double play that allowed Max Cotier (New Milford, Conn.) to score but the play was reviewed and Kent was ruled safe.
The overturned call proved crucial as Kent took off for second base with Alex Tappen (Lower Gwynedd Pa.) at the plate. With the ODU shortstop going over to cover the stolen base attempt, Tappen lined a ball through the vacated hole on the left side that allowed Kyle Teel (Mahwah, N.J.) to score from third with ease.