No. 1 Cavaliers Stop Miami, 7-4, to Win Series
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The No. 1 Virginia baseball team capped off its regular season with a 7-4 victory at No. 14 Miami Saturday afternoon at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. UVa clinched the outright ACC Coastal Division title and finished off its ninth ACC series win of the year.
The Cavaliers (45-10, 23-7 ACC) finish the ACC schedule with their most conference wins ever. UVa also posted its second series win ever over Miami. Virginia will be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming ACC Baseball Championship, which is slated for next Wednesday through Sunday at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, N.C. It marks just the second time UVa will hold the top seed (1985). Brackets for the event will be announced Sunday.
Virginia’s pitchers bent but did not break through several jams Saturday. UVa pitchers stranded 14 Miami runners on base, including seven in scoring position. Miami (39-15, 20-10) left seven runners on base in the first three innings alone.
Danny Hultzen (So., Bethesda, Md.) worked five innings and allowed two earned runs, four hits and a career-high five walks while striking out seven. Hultzen (8-1) struggled with his control throughout but consistently battled out of trouble while stranding nine runners. UVa got 2.2 key innings of relief from Justin Thompson (So., Danville, Va.) before Kevin Arico (Jr., Flemington, N.J.) got the final four outs to notch his 15th save, setting the Virginia single-season record.
David Gutierrez (4-1) took the loss for Miami after allowing five runs (four earned), seven hits and three walks with six strikeouts in five innings.
Phil Gosselin (Jr., West Chester, Pa.) and Jarrett Parker (Jr., Stafford, Va.) each had three hits for Virginia, which finished with 11 base hits.
Virginia put its leadoff hitter on base five times, and those runners came around to score four of the five times.
In the first inning Gosselin led off with a double to right-center, and Keith Werman (So., Vienna, Va.) moved him to third with a single to center. Yasmani Grandal then committed a passed ball to allow Gosselin to score and Werman to move to second, and Gutierrez uncorked a wild pitch to move Werman to third. With one out, Steven Proscia grounded out to shortstop to score the run and give UVa a 2-0 lead.
The Hurricanes shaved a run from UVa’s lead in the bottom of the first. After loading the bases with two outs, Miami scored when Hultzen fired a wild pitch to plate Frankie Ratcliff.
Virginia responded with a pair of run in the second inning. John Hicks (So., Sandy Hook, Va.) drew a leadoff walk and advanced one out later on a Franco Valdes (Sr., Miami, Fla.) groundout. Stephen Bruno (Fr., Audubon, N.J.) walked and both runners scampered home on Gosselin’s second straight double, with this one short-hopping the left-center field wall to push the lead to 4-1.
Hicks led off the fourth with a first-pitch single to center field. He advanced on a wild pitch and scored one out later on a Valdes’ single to right field.
The Hurricanes tacked on a run in the fifth inning on a two-out single by Chris Pelaez which scored Grandal.
Virginia countered with a run in the sixth. With one out Bruno was hit by a pitch. He then stole second and moved to third on a Gosselin single to left. Werman then laid down a bunt between first base and the mound. Pitcher Sam Robinson dove to field the ball, but Werman beat the toss to first while Bruno scored as UVa took a 6-2 lead.
Miami had a big opportunity in the sixth inning, only to see Thompson shut the door. Reliever Will Roberts (So., Richmond, Va.) walked David Villasuso to start the inning, then gave up a double to right-center from Stephen Perez which moved Villasuso to third. Thompson entered the game and struck out Zeke DeVoss, then induced Michael Broad to foul out to first base and Scott Lawson to fly out to center to end the threat with no further damage.
The Cavaliers added a run in the seventh, taking advantage of a leadoff double off the center-field fence by Parker off Sam Robinson. Hicks then walked against reliever Taylor Wulf, with Parker moving to third on a wild pitch on ball four. Reed Gragnani (Fr., Richmond, Va.) then grounded into a double play, scoring Parker.
In the eighth inning Melendres was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Thompson recorded back-to-back outs before surrendering consecutive singles by pinch hitter Chantz Mack and Michael Broad, with the latter bringing home Melendres. Arico came on and gave up an RBI single to Lawson before Grandal reached on an infield single to load the bases. Arico then forced Harold Martinez to groundout to Bruno at shortstop to end the threat and keep the UVa advantage at three, 7-4.