The Cavaliers (19-19, 11-16 ACC) took two out of three games in the series, clinching their first series win against Duke (18-18, 9-15 ACC) since 2017.
Virginia fell behind twice in the first five innings and managed to even the game on two different occasions but a pair of home runs by cleanup hitter Peter Matt, a solo shot in the sixth and a two-run blast in the eighth, put Duke up for good.
Duke hit eight home runs in the three-game series, the most by a Virginia opponent this season. Of the 13 runs that the Blue Devils scored in the three-game set, 12 came via the long ball.
“We missed out on a terrific opportunity to get our first series sweep and we just didn’t do enough,” UVA coach Brian O’Connor said. “Their offense was clearly driven by the home run. A credit to them, you make a mistake and they make you pay for it. We did enough in the first two days to not allow it to hurt us but today it did. We got a good series win, I’m proud of our guys, we just need to learn to take that next step and sweep the series.”
For the second-straight day, Zack Gelof put forth a multi-hit effort and finished 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI. After falling behind 3-0 on a three-run homer by Chris Crabtree in the top of the second, Gelof delivered a two-out bases clearing double to knot the game at three with one swing of the bat in the bottom half. It was his 10th double of the season and upped his RBI total to 27, the most on the team.
Gelof has now reached base in 15-straight games and has hit safely in 12 consecutive contests.
The Cavaliers found themselves down 4-3 in the top of the third after a solo home run by Michael Rothenberg, his third of the series. Virginia tied the game up for the last time after Devin Ortiz scored on a Duke throwing error in the fifth.
The senior led off the frame with an RBI double and later advanced to third on an RBI ground out. He came across on a failed pickoff attempt at third by Duke’s catcher and the throw got away the third baseman, allowing Ortiz to trot home.
Ortiz was one of four multi-hit performers for UVA and was 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored on the day. Freshman Kyle Teel (Mahwah, N.J.) and sophomore Chris Newell each went 2-for-4 in the contest.
Starting pitcher Nate Savino tossed a career-high five innings and was lifted after a lead-off single to start the sixth. The lefthander was charged with the first four runs of the ball game, walked one and struck out two.
The Cavaliers will close out a four-game homestand on Tuesday with the final game of a home-and-home series with Liberty. The matchup will be broadcast live on ACC Network with a first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.