After a Friday rainout Miami won both games of a doubleheader against the Virginia Cavaliers to gain a huge ACC series win. If the Hurricanes can sweep the series tomorrow it would mean they remain above .500 in the conference and give them a huge boost in the race for the Coastal Division title. With the two wins Miami is at 24-12 (9-8 ACC) on the season.
The series win was not only a boost to conference hopes, as it continues a recent run of solid play that has put Miami in a good spot to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in two years.
Big doubleheader sweep on the road at UVa for @CanesBaseball, who have climbed above .500 in the ACC at 9-8. Miami definitely on a nice trajectory now to get back into regionals after a 2-year drought. https://t.co/QqVv6pTbqc— Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) April 13, 2019
Game 1: Miami 9, Virginia 6
The first game of the series saw Virginia get an early lead over Miami. In the bottom of the second two singles gave UVA runners on the corners with no outs. A sac-fly scored the first run of the series, and another single gave the Cavaliers an insurance run, but Evan McKendry limited the damage and got out of the inning.
Fortunately, Miami responded quickly. A five run top of the third put the Hurricanes ahead 5-2. A single, a double, and a bunt single scored one run, and another single tied the game at 2. With two men on Adrian Del Castillo connected for a three run home run to right that put the ‘Canes ahead for good.
The Hurricanes tacked on another three runs in the sixth. A two-out rally provided the scoring for Miami. After Gabe Rivera reached on a walk, he stole second, and Freddy Zamora was intentionally walked to provide the easier force out at second. Unfortunately for UVA, Adrian Del Castillo knocked an RBI single through the right side and Ray Gil followed him with a two-RBI double to left center field, which put Miami up 8-2.
UVA scored two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings to bring the score to 8-6 and end Evan McKendry’s afternoon. McKendry allowed four hits over that stretch, and two of those runs were unearned, but he probably was allowed to stay in the game a little too long.
The length that McKendry provided allowed Miami to use only Daniel Federman out of the bullpen. Federman completely dominated UVA, allowing just one hit over 2.2 innings. Jordan Lala hit a home run to left field to give the sophomore an extra run of insurance, which allowed him to settle in and attack hitters.
Miami played a very solid first game despite allowing two runs to score after an error. The ‘Canes’ pitching staff dominated again during this game, striking out five while walking just one batter, and the Hurricanes hitters continued putting together solid at-bats at the plate.
Winning Pitcher: Evan McKendry (6-1, 6.1 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)
Losing Pitcher: Noah Murdock (2-3, 5.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K)
Save: Daniel Federman (6)
Game 2: Miami 2, Virginia 1
The Hurricanes pitching staff dominated the second game Saturday to earn Miami their second win of the day. The ‘Canes allowed just three hits as a staff, while striking out nine and walking three. Unfortunately, Chris McMahon had to leave the game with an apparent injury to his shoulder in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Miami got on the board in the top of the fourth with two consecutive doubles from Adrian Del Castillo and Tony Jenkins. The only other run for the Hurricanes came off the bat of Ray Gil when he launched a moonshot out of the stadium to make the game 2-0 in the top of the sixth.
The Cavaliers fought back in the bottom of the sixth, scoring a run off of a single, a walk, a sac bunt, and an RBI groundout. Virginia even moved the tying run to third before Mark Mixon struck out Cameron Simmons to end the threat.
Unfortunately Miami had another player leave due to injury before the end of the game. Alex Toral appeared to jam his wrist sliding back into first on a pickoff attempt. The loss of the ACC leader in home runs would be damaging not just at the plate, but also in the field, as Toral has turned himself into a solid defender at first base.
Greg Veliz earned his fourth save of the season to clinch the series for Miami and set up an important Sunday game for the Hurricanes. A sweep tomorrow could move Miami into second in the division heading into next week.
Winning Pitcher: Chris McMahon (3-2, 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)
Losing Pitcher: Griff McGarry (2-5, 6.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)
Save: Greg Veliz (4)
Game 3 @ Virginia
Date & Time: Sunday, April 14, 1:00 P.M. Eastern
Hurricanes Starter: Brian Van Belle (4-2, 3.59 ERA)
Virginia Starter: Mike Vasil (1-3, 4.95 ERA)
Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM
Television: ACC Network Extra