The Virginia baseball team’s late rally came up one run short on Thursday night in a 6-5 loss to No. 6 Georgia Tech at Mac Nease Baseball Park at Russ Chandler Stadium.
After falling behind 6-0, the Cavaliers (11-14, 4-12 ACC) rallied for five runs in the final two innings, but could not get the game-tying run across, suffering their fourth one-run loss in conference play. Virginia also fell to 0-6 in ACC series openers this season.
Alex Tappen put the Cavaliers on the board in the eighth inning with a pinch-hit, two-RBI double down the right field line. The next batter, Max Cotier, plated Devin Ortiz with an RBI groundout to cut the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 6-3 heading to the ninth.
In their final at-bat, the first two UVa batters, Chris Newell and Zack Gelof, singled to bring the tying run to the plate. Newell scored on a Yellow Jacket throwing error to make the score 6-4, then Brendan Rivoli drove in the fifth Cavalier run on a groundout to the right side.
With the tying run on third base, Georgia Tech closer Luke Bartnicki struck out the final batter of the game to help the Yellow Jackets hold on to the 6-5 victory. Bartnicki fanned two of the last three batters in the frame to secure his third save of the year.
Gelof went 3-for-5 with a run scored to lead all Cavalier hitters. It marked his second, three-hit game of the season. Ortiz was the other multi-hit performer for the Virginia lineup, finishing 2-for-4 with a run scored.
After Georgia Tech (14-7, 11-5 ACC) scored all six of its runs in the first four innings, Virginia reliever Kyle Whitten settled things down, tossing three innings of scoreless relief. The senior allowed just two Yellow Jacket hits and struck out one in his team-leading 14th appearance of the year.
Freshman Jake Berry kept UVa within three by pitching a scoreless eighth inning. He got Kevin Parada, who already had four hits on the day, to lineout into a double play to end the frame. It was one of two double plays turned by the Virginia infield in the contest.
Georgia Tech starting pitcher Brant Hurter tossed seven scoreless innings and struck out eight batters while walking none to earn his third win of the season.