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No. 2 Vanderbilt Uses Big Inning to Pull Away in Season Opener

302sports 388 Feb 19

(Gelof, Virginia)

Second-ranked Vanderbilt (1-0) scored eight runs in the top of the fourth inning to help deliver a 15-9, season-opening victory over Virginia (0-1) at the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament played inside the Salt River Fields, the spring training home of Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.
The two teams traded runs over the first two innings before Vanderbilt's Ethan Paul broke a 4-4 tie with a solo home run in the top of the third. The Commodores blew the game open an inning later, scoring eight runs, seven with two outs while three of the runs came across unearned.
In his collegiate debut, freshman Zack Gelof (Cape Henlopen) went 4-for-5 with three doubles and four RBI. The three doubles in the contest matched a school record. He is the 30th player in UVA history to put forth a three-double game and first since Andy Weber doubled three times against George Washington on April 5, 2017.
Trailing 13-4 going into the fifth, Gelof instilled some hope into the UVA dugout with a two-out, three-run triple to make the score 13-8. Virginia pulled within four on an RBI groundout from fellow first year Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) in the bottom half of the seventh.
Vanderbilt responded with its 10th and 11th two-out runs in the top of the eighth to make the score 15-9.
The Cavaliers battled back from a pair of two-run deficits in their first two trips to the plate. Virginia tied the game at two in the bottom of the first on a Brendan Rivoli (Douglassville, Pa.) sacrifice fly in the first and a fielder's choice in the second by Cayman Richardson (Mechanicsville, Va.) that scored Cameron Comer (Powell, Ohio.)
Virginia relievers Riley Wilson (Midlothian, Va.), Evan Sperling (Poquoson, Va.) and Grant Donahue (Berlin, Md.) all came out unscathed, combining for 4.1 innings of scoreless relief.
The MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament resumes for Virginia on Saturday (Feb. 16) with a matchup against No. 17 TCU. Cavalier freshman righty Mike Vasil will oppose fellow right-hander Jared Janczak at 7 p.m. EST.
Additional Notes
• Comer walked three times, threw out two runners trying to steal and scored twice in eight innings of work behind the dish.
• Virginia received multiple hit-efforts from Rivoli and Nate Eikhoff (Bristow, Va.) who went 2-for-4 and 2-for-5, respectively. Dating back to last season, Eikhoff has reaching base in six-straight games.
• The contest marked the Cavalier debuts for Gelof, Kent, Blake Bales (Schoolcraft, Mich.) and Logan Michaels (DeForest, Wis.).
• Virginia fell to 11-5 in season openers under Brian O'Connor