Baseball

Virginia's Zack Gelof (18) celebrates a home run against Louisville at home on Friday.

The Virginia baseball team broke even Friday evening at Disharoon Park.

The Cavaliers won the second game of a doubleheader against No. 6 Louisville, 10-2, after dropping the first contest, 15-7. The teams will play the final contest of the three-game ACC series Saturday starting at 11 a.m.

In winning the second game, Virginia stayed afloat in its quest to qualify for the ACC Tournament, which features the top 12 teams in the conference. The Cavaliers finished Friday in 11th place in the 14-team league.

Right-hander Mike Vasil earned the win in the nightcap after allowing two earned runs in seven innings of work. The freshman struck out four batters against two walks in what Coach Brian O’Connor called Vasil’s “start of the year.”

“He’s been inconsistent, which typically most young freshmen are,” O’Connor said. “When his team needed him most, he really, really stepped up. Just really proud of the job he did for our team at a difficult point in the season.”

Vasil said he spent the past week working with pitching coach Karl Kuhn on the “finer points,” of his approach.

“Stopped worrying so much, or I did, about what the hitters were going to do after I released the ball,” Vasil said. “Just being able to trust my stuff and being able to hit my spots.”

Left-hander Andrew Abbott pitched a scoreless final two innings to seal the win.

The Virginia offense started the second game by scoring three runs in the first inning and four in the second. First baseman Nate Eikhoff and designated hitter Jack Weiller led the team with two RBI each.

The first game of the doubleheader did not go as well for Virginia. The Cavaliers scored two runs in the first inning but right-hander Noah Murdock could not hold the lead. He had surrendered eight runs by the end of his three-inning outing.

Virginia struck back in the bottom of third, when third baseman Zack Gelof drilled a three-run homer into the left field seats. Gelof had just missed a dinger earlier in the at-bat, driving a ball inches to the left of the left-field foul pole, and as he crossed home plate he toasted helmets with designated hitter Brendan Rivoli and center fielder Cameron Simmons.

Right fielder Alex Tappen kept the good vibes coming with a solo homer in the fourth, pulling Virginia to within two runs. But the Cardinals outscored the Cavaliers 7-1 the rest of the way and cruised to the blowout.

Virginia will aim Saturday to pick up its first ACC series win in more than a month.

“We’ve got to catch fire and play good baseball,” O’Connor said. “Hopefully we can get a signature series win.”

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