CORAL GABLES, Fla. — This past weekend, the University of Virginia baseball team (26-17, 11-10 ACC) traveled to Coral Gables to take on the No. 1 ranked Miami (30-8, 14-5 ACC) Hurricanes. The Hoos defeated the nation’s top team in two out of three games, handing Miami its first ACC series loss this season.
The Hoos started the series with a bang, hanging a crooked number on the board in the top of the first inning on Friday night. Nate Eikhoff contributed to this early 5-0 lead with a three-run homer.
Virginia starter, Connor Jones, shut down the Hurricanes through three innings, but Miami was able to get on the board in the fourth, tallying two runs to cut the deficit to three. Two more Miami runs in the sixth narrowed the Virginia lead to only one run before Cameron Simmons added an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a solo home run.
Jones worked seven innings for the Wahoos, scattering 8 eight hits and surrendering four runs—only one of which was earned—while striking out three. Jones turned the ball over to Tommy Doyle to start the eighth inning as he attempted to stave off the Canes’ comeback efforts and record the six out save.
Simmons’ insurance run proved to be a pivotal run in this ball game as Doyle allowed a ninth inning solo blast to UM’s Edgar Michelangeli, bringing the tally to 6-5, UVA. Following the homer, Doyle, apparently craving even more suspense and drama, proceeded to walk the bases loaded (one intentional), before getting Jacob Heyward to pop out to second to end the game and secure the Virginia victory.
Saturday’s game two pitching matchup of Adam Haseley versus Michael Mediavilla proved to be a pitcher’s duel early as the game remained scoreless into the sixth inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Miami broke the scoreless tie by pushing across three unearned runs.
An Edgar Michelangeli solo homer off Haseley in the seventh—his second home run in as many days—made it 4-0.
The Canes blew the game wide open in the eighth when they touched up David Rosenberger for five earned runs on four hits, two of which came via back-to-back home runs from Jacob Heyward and Willie Abreu. Rosenberger only recorded one out before being lifted in favor of Chesdin Harrington, who recorded the final two outs in the eighth without surrendering a hit.
In the ninth inning, down 9-0, the Hoos scratched across two runs, avoiding the shutout, thanks to a pair of Andy Weber and Justin Novak two-out RBI singles.
The Canes pitching staff, spearheaded by Mediavilla’s strong start, had the Wahoos’ number all day as they surrendered only five hits while fanning seven Virginia batters en route to a 9-2 Miami victory.
The rubber match of this series took place on Sunday afternoon as Virginia’s Alec Bettinger faced off against Miami’s Danny Garcia.
The Hoos jumped on Garcia early, pushing across a run in the second to jump out to a 1-0 lead as Charlie Cody drove in Daniel Pinero with a single up the middle.
Virginia tacked on two more in the fourth, but Bettinger gave them both right back on a Zack Collins two-run round-tripper in the bottom of the inning. Miami tied it up in the sixth on a Johnny Ruiz RBI groundout following a pair of UM singles.
With the game knotted at three, Matt Thaiss stepped to the plate in the top of the seventh with two runners in scoring postion and two outs. Thaiss laced a single to left-center to score Cameron Simmons and Ernie Clement, giving the Hoos a 5-3 advantage.
Tyler Shambora, Kevin Doherty, and Tommy Doyle combined to finish the game for the Wahoos after Bettinger was lifted after six innings. The trio scattered four hits while allowing zero runs and striking out seven. Doyle recorded the four out save, retiring all four batters he faced in 1.1 innings of work—three via the strikeout.
Virginia tacked on two unearned runs in the top of the ninth to bring the final tally to 7-3. With the victory, the Hoos took the series by a 2-1 count. This series win, following last weekend’s big series win over North Carolina, has moved Virginia into second place in the ACC Coastal standings.
After the victory, Coach O’Connor applauded his ball club’s efforts: “This is back-to-back series wins against North Carolina and Miami, and that’s what we are trying to do… Miami is a tremendous ball club, and to come to the No. 1 team in the country and win a series is big for this team. Hopefully the last couple of weeks are something we can build on moving forward.”
This series win for the Wahoos was its first over a top-ranked opponent in the regular season since defeating No. 1 North Carolina in 2007.
Virginia will travel to Harbor Park in Norfolk, VA to take on ODU on Tuesday before heading to Pittsburgh to face off against the Pitt Panthers in a three game series. The series at Pitt will consist of a Saturday double-header (2 seven-inning games) followed by a nine-inning game on Sunday.