Virginia Blanks Oklahoma in Season-Opening Win

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Virginia (1-0) opened the 2020 season with a 6-0 win over Oklahoma (0-1) on Friday night (Feb. 14) at Blue Wahoo Stadium, home of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. With inclement weather in the forecast for Sunday (Feb. 16), the two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday (Feb. 15) beginning at 2 p.m. EST to wrap up three-game series.
Four Cavalier pitchers combined for the first opening day shutout since 2009 when Virginia held Bucknell off the scoreboard in a 12-0 victory.
Making his second-straight opening day start, junior Griff McGarry (Portola Valley, Calif.) struck out seven batters and limited Oklahoma to just one hit over five innings of work to earn the victory. The righthander stranded three Sooners in scoring position, including two in the first inning. Five of his eight strikeouts came in the first three innings.
Kyle Whitten (Manassas, Va.), Andrew Abbott (Republican Grove, Va.) and Stephen Schoch (Laurel, Md.) combined for four innings of scoreless relief. Schoch, making his Cavalier debut, struck out three batters in the ninth inning to seal the victory.
It took only two batters in the bottom of the first for Virginia to capture the lead. Sophomore Nic Kent (Charlottesville, Va.) singled to lead-off the frame and went on to steal second base. Freshman Max Cotier (New Milford, Conn.) followed with his first collegiate hit, a single to right field that allowed Kent to score.
Virginia tacked on some insurance in the bottom of the fifth when Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.) doubled to left field and allowed senior Logan Michaels to score all the way from first base.
The Cavaliers broke it open in the bottom of the eighth, posting four runs. Two came in on a single off the bat of junior-transfer Marc Lebreux (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) with two outs. The hit was his first as a Cavalier.
Seven of the nine Cavaliers in the lineup were credited with a hit. Virginia stole five bases in the contest including a successful double-steal attempt in the bottom of the eighth in which freshman Chris Newell (Newtown Square, Pa.) stole home.
Additional Notes
• The Cavaliers are now winners of 12-straight games against non-conference foes.
• The opening day win is the first since 2017 and Virginia improves to 12-5 in season openers under Brian O’Connor.
• Oklahoma came into the contest ranked in five different polls and are ranked as low as No. 16 (Perfect Game).

Donald Wolfe

Donald’s writings have appeared in HuffPost, Washington Examiner, The Saturday Evening Post, and The Virginian-Pilot, among other publications. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia. He is the Virginian Tribune's Publisher.

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