Virginia’s season has been exceptional this year and their late heroics over the past couple of games have managed to keep fans on the edge.
Mike Papi’s grand slam was the difference on Saturday as the Cavaliers knocked off the Demon Deacons in a 7-6 victory. Mandatory Credit: VirginiaSports.com
The Cavaliers opened their series against Wake Forest on Saturday. Virginia, currently ranked fourth in the country with a 29-3 record, has consistently rallied behind stellar pitching and even better offense. Virginia’s only losses going into the Wake Forest series came against Maryland, Clemson, and Miami by a combined total of four runs. The Cavaliers are ranked first in the nation in ERA, Win-Loss Percentage, and Strikeouts Per Nine Innings. If they continue this trend, they will inevitably challenge North Carolina for the ACC title.
The Wahoos’ most exciting game came on Saturday in their showdown against ACC rival Wake Forest. The Cavaliers trailed 6-2 going into the ninth inning after uncharacteristic poor pitching from starter Brandon Waddell. Waddell gave up six runs and nine hits with only four strikeouts. However, with no outs in the top of the inning, Jared King hit a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 6-3. The run gave Virginia some hope, especially with loaded bases, but no one expected what would come next. With two outs and down to the final strike of the game, Mike Papi, which has become a Charlottesville household name, hit a grand slam to give the Wahoos a 7-6 lead which they were able to maintain through the end of the game. Papi has been remarkable this season batting .438 with 21 RBIs and a .734 slugging percentage. Papi has also hit three homeruns, none more important than the grand slam on Saturday night.
The Cavaliers were able to carry their momentum into their showdown against the Demon Deacons on Sunday. Virginia again found itself trailing 6-3 in the fifth inning, but like Saturday the Cavaliers rallied to victory. This time it was Reed Gragnani with the two-out, two-run home run in the eighth inning to give Virginia the lead that they kept in the ninth inning.
Virginia has been nothing short of spectacular thus far in the season, but the rivals down south, UNC, have been equally fantastic. The Tar Heels are currently ranked 1st in the nation and everyone is eying the end of the year showdown between these two powerhouses at Chapel Hill. For more coverage of Wahoo sports, be sure to tune into Fansided!