CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Jacob Heyward was determined not to let his team down twice.
Two innings after a squandered bunt opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, the junior outfielder atoned with the first walk-off home run of his Miami career to lead the Hurricanes to a 4-3, 11-inning win over Pittsburgh.
Heyward, who popped out on a bunt attempt for the first out of the ninth, crushed a pitch from Pitt reliever Yaya Chentouf over the left field fence for a solo home run to send Miami to the series victory.
The win improved Miami’s extra-innings record to a perfect 3-0.
"I put a good swing on it. I was looking for a fastball, trying to be ready for it," Heyward said. "When I hit it, I thought it had a good chance [to go]…it felt good to get the win."
The walk-off hit was the second of Heyward’s Miami career and first since a heroic performance by the leftfielder against Arkansas at the 2015 College World Series in Omaha, Neb. It was also the first hit allowed by Chentouf (0-1), who had thrown 5.1 near flawless innings of relief before Heyward’s home run.
"I was really upset at myself for not getting the bunt down when we needed it," Heyward said. "I’ve been there, we’ve all been there – regionals, super regionals, College World Series – you got to get the job done when you’re asked to do it."
The home run was the sixth of the season for Heyward.
Trailing 3-2 in the ninth, Pittsburgh tied the game on an RBI single by Frank Maldonado off Miami closer Bryan Garcia in a rare blown save for the All-American.
The two teams combined for 22 runners left on base, and Miami hit just a pair of two-out hits.
Four Miami relievers combined to pitch the final 4.1 innings, including a one-pitch stint from junior Ryan Guerra (1-0).
The righthander earned the first win of his career after entering in the 11th with two runners on base and recording a groundout to hold the score at 3-3.
"There are a lot of little things we didn’t do tonight," head coach Jim Morris said. "I didn’t think we played the game the way we’ve been playing it – whether it was moving runners around, bunting guys around or getting hits with guys on base."
Sophomore lefthander Michael Mediavilla delivered 6.2 strong innings against the Panthers. The tall lefthander scattered seven hits and two earned runs, giving way to the bullpen after 94 pitches.
It was the seventh start this season in which Mediavilla went at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs.
The Hurricanes (39-9, 18-6 ACC) grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single to right by junior Zack Collins. After a one-out triple from Christopher Barr into the right-center gap, Collins cracked a 3-1 pitch from Pitt righthander Josh Falk into right to put Miami ahead.
Falk would settle down after the first, retiring nine straight batters before a two-out walk from Brandon Lopez in the fourth inning.
The Panthers (25-22, 10-15 ACC) struck for a pair of runs in the third inning to take a 2-1 lead. A sacrifice fly from Alex Kowalcyzk to center tied the game 1-1, and Nick Yarnall gave the visitors the lead with an RBI single to right that scored Charles Leblanc.
Mediavilla would not be discouraged. He retired 12 of the next 13 batters after surrendering the lead, working around a 28-minute lightning delay called in the bottom of the fifth inning.
"I started out a little sluggish, and I had to deal with that," Mediavilla said. "My breaking ball wasn’t working well early in the game. I was able to work out of it, and find a groove once we got into the third or fourth inning. I was able to settle down."
Miami chased Falk in the sixth. The Hurricanes loaded the bases on three straight singles from Christopher Barr, Collins and Lopez, and a throwing error by Leblanc on a potential double play ball scored two runners.
Singles from Willie Abreu and Randy Batista loaded the bases, but Chentouf entered and induced an inning-ending double play to hold the deficit at 3-2.
Mediavilla quickly recorded the first two outs of the seventh, but allowed back-to-back singles before being relieved by freshman Frankie Bartow. The righthander came through for Miami, recording a fielder’s choice groundout to maintain the lead.
Pittsburgh loaded the bases in the eighth on three straight singles off Bartow. The freshman kept his cool, however, and induced an inning-ending double play on the first pitch he threw to Panthers centerfielder Aaron Schnurbusch.
A one-out double from Jacob Wright gave Pittsburgh life in the ninth, and the single from Maldonado off Garcia tied the game 3-3.
The two teams return to Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field Sunday for the series finale. First pitch for the contest, slated for broadcast on ESPN3 and 560 WQAM, is set for 1 p.m.