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Miami Clinches Opening ACC Series, Tops VT 7-2

Richard Lewis/UM Athletics

Courtesy UM

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Miami overcame rain-soaked conditions to clinch an ACC road series victory over Virginia Tech Sunday, toppling the host Hokies 7-2 in game three at English Field.

The Hurricanes, who dropped game one Friday night, received a strong start from junior lefthander Danny Garcia in the series rubber match.

Garcia struck out seven batters and allowed just five hits and two unearned runs. He threw 106 pitches over seven efficient innings to improve his record to 3-1.

Juniors Zack Collins and Jacob Heyward both homered in the win, Miami's eighth in its last nine tries against the Hokies.

With Sunday's result, Miami earned its fourth ACC series victory in its last five road trips dating to 2015.

Miami (13-3, 2-1  ACC) wasted little time opening the scoring in the series finale, originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. start but moved to 11 a.m. due to the forecast. The visitors, who fell behind in each of the first two games of the series, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game’s first inning.

After a two-out walk drawn by Collins, Heyward belted an offering from Hokies starter Jon Woodcock over the fence in left for his first home run of the season.

The Hurricanes nearly missed out on an opportunity to add to their early lead in the third due to the slippery conditions, but Collins came up with another clutch two-out hit to add to Miami’s advantage.

Randy Batista walked and took second on a sacrifice bunt to open the inning. Redshirt junior Christopher Barr then singled through the right side, but Batista slipped rounding third and was forced to hold, and Barr was caught in a rundown between first and second.

Collins came through for the visitors, however, connecting on an RBI single up the middle off Woodcock to boost Miami’s lead to 3-0.

Woodcock (1-3) settled down after the rough start, retiring 12 of the next 14 batters until the seventh, when Batista drew a two-out walk, signaling the end of his outing.

Virginia Tech (10-7, 1-2 ACC) built its first threat in the fourth, loading the bases on an error, single and hit batsman. Garcia buckled down to escape any damage, however, fanning Matt Dauby to maintain his team’s lead.

The Hokies broke through in the fifth, as a potential double play was mishandled by Miami resulting in a run. A sacrifice fly from Phil Sciretta cut Miami’s lead to 3-2 before Garcia induced an inning-ending groundout.

Miami added a run in the seventh on an RBI single from Barr to bump its lead back to two runs.

After a two-out walk from Batista, the Hokies brought Aaron McGarity on in relief of Woodcock. The Hurricanes responded with back-to-back singles from sophomore Carl Chester and Barr off the righthander to plate another run.

With the top of the Hokies order due up, Garcia returned to the mound for his seventh inning. He retired the dangerous Saige Jenco on a groundout before striking out three-hole hitter Tom Stoffel and the cleanup hitter Sciretta to end his afternoon.

Miami left little doubt when Collins crushed a pitch from Hokies reliever Cole Kragel over the fence in the eighth for a three-run home run, putting Miami ahead 7-2.

Freshman Frankie Bartow pitched a scoreless eighth inning, while junior closer Bryan Garcia struck out the side in the ninth.

The Hurricanes travel to Orlando for a midweek matchup with host UCF on Wed., March 16. First pitch for the contest, slated for broadcast on WVUM 90.5 FM and WVUM.org, is set for 6:30 p.m.