UVA blasts Coastal Carolina to open regional play

Cavs down Chanticleers 7-2

Cavaliers outlast Coastal Carolina in NCAA baseball regional play. (University of Virginia/NCAA baseball)

Greenville, NCGREENVILLE, N.C. – Virginia (39-17) scored seven unanswered runs in a 7-2 victory over Coastal Carolina (36-19-1) at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Friday (June 3). The Cavaliers advance to play host and No. 8 overall seed East Carolina on Saturday (June 4) at 7 p.m.

The Cavaliers overcame an early 2-0 deficit behind a four-run third inning and three-run fifth. It marked the 13th time Virginia has come-from-behind for a victory this season.

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Starting pitcher Nate Savino delivered his team-leading, fifth quality start he did not allow an earned run over 6.1 innings pitched. The lefthander was credited with his sixth win and struck out four batters. In NCAA postseason play, Savino is 2-0 with three earned runs and eight strikeouts in 15.1 career innings.


• Coastal Carolina capitalized on a pair of Virginia fielding errors in the second inning to capture a 2-0 lead.

• Virginia sent eight batters to the plate in the third inning and after a fielder’s choice RBI off the bat of Jake Gelof cut the Chanticleer lead in half, Kyle Teel gave the Cavaliers the lead for good with a two-out, two-RBI double that hit the wall in the left center field gap.

• Freshman Casey Saucke capped the four-run inning with a two-out RBI single through the left side that allowed Teel to score.

• After graduate student Alex Tappen ended the top of the fifth inning with the first of his two diving catches in left field, he led off the bottom half with a double down the right field line. The next batter, Gelof, brought Tappen in on a single that landed in front of the centerfielder, Gelof’s second RBI of the game and 76th of the season.

• Saucke picked up his second RBI of the day with double down the left field line and fellow first year Ethan Anderson followed with an infield single that scored Teel.

• Coastal’s next best scoring chance came in the seventh when it loaded the bases with two outs. The inning ended on a diving stop at third base by Gelof who touched third base to end the threat. Freshman Jay Woolfolk recorded the final two outs of the seventh and stranded two more runners in the eighth.

Matt Wyatt struck out the side in the ninth inning to secure the Cavalier victory.


“I’ll just start off as saying I’m really proud of our guys. Certainly the early part of the game did not go as we scripted. We didn’t handle the ball real well on the infield, but just proud of how guys bounced back. This time of the year, some crazy things can happen, and you’ve got to be able to adjust within a game and handle the emotion of the game that it’ll bring, and we did that.

The guy sitting to my left, Nave Savino, thought was terrific. He completely pounded the bottom of the zone, got a lot of ground balls. When he’s his best, the fastball velocity is good and he’s at the bottom of the zone getting a lot of ground balls, and he was terrific tonight. When you play in this tournament, it certainly helps when you get guys that can pitch past the fifth inning, because it takes a lot. It takes a huge effort to advance out of this and go on to next weekend, and he was outstanding tonight, as were Jay Woolfolk and Matt Wyatt.

Certainly, offensively our runs came in two innings where we just were opportunistic. We knew Coastal’s starter was very, very good, we watched a ton of film on him, and to be the pitcher of the year in the Sun Belt. Looking at his stat sheet coming in, the guy had only given up two home runs the whole year. That’s impressive. So we knew we were in for a fight. And I’m just proud of our guys. They got big two-strike hits, a few two-out hits. (Alex) Tapp(en) over here made two outstanding diving plays in left field. Those were big, big moments in the game and to kind of stop momentum for them. So excited about our effort tonight and looking forward to tomorrow night.”


A coin flip after Friday night’s game determined UVA will be the visiting team against ECU on Saturday night. The Cavaliers will send lefty Brian Gursky to the mound and he will be opposed by southpaw C.J. Mayhue. The game at Clark-LeClair stadium is sold out.


• Gelof is one RBI away from tying Pavin Smith’s school record for RBI in a season.

• Savino’s last quality start was on March 25 at Wake Forest.

• The six earned runs against Coastal Carolina starter Reid VanScoter, the Sun Belt Pitcher of the year, were the most surrendered this season.