CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The No. 1 Virginia baseball team clinched at least a share of the ACC Coastal Division regular-season championship with a 3-1 win at No. 14 Miami Friday night at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. The Cavaliers (44-10, 22-7 ACC), with their school-record 22nd ACC win, have a one-game lead over Georgia Tech heading into the final day of ACC play.
Virginia, by virtue of its head-to-head series win with Georgia Tech, also clinched 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. UVa last finished atop the ACC regular-season standings in 1985; the Cavaliers also were ACC regular-season champions in 1972.
Pitching ruled the day for both teams. UVa pitchers, led by seven strong innings from starter Robert Morey (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.), allowed just four hits. Miami’s three pitchers surrendered just six hits – two by Chris Taylor (Fr., Virginia Beach, Va.).
Morey (9-2) pitched into the eighth inning for the third straight game to earn the win. He did not allow a hit until the sixth inning. Morey pitched to the first batter of the eighth and worked seven innings, giving up one earned run, three hits and four walks while striking out five.
Cody Winiarski (Jr., Franksville, Wis.) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth inning before Kevin Arico (Jr., Flemington, N.J.) tossed a scoreless ninth inning to record his NCAA-leading 14th save of the year. That total ties the school single-season record, set by Casey Lambert (2005) and Michael Schwimer (2008).
Miami starting pitcher Chris Hernandez (8-3) worked 5.2 innings, giving up three runs (one earned), five hits and five walks while striking out nine in taking the loss. The Hurricanes were ultimately done in by three errors, which directly led to two of UVa’s three runs.
Taking advantage of a Miami error, Virginia broke the early deadlock with a pair of third-inning runs. Chris Taylor (Fr., Virginia Beach, Va.) reached to lead off the inning when first baseman Scott Lawson dropped the throw of second baseman Frankie Ratcliff. Phil Gosselin (Jr., West Chester, Pa.) followed with a single to right, and Tyler Cannon (Sr., Pigeon Forge, Tenn.) bunted the runners to second and third. Dan Grovatt (Jr., Tabernacle, N.J.) then stroked a single to right to plate Taylor and move Gosselin to third, and Steven Proscia (So., Suffern, N.Y.) grounded out to score Gosselin and push the lead to 2-0.
In the fourth inning Virginia added a run. John Hicks (So., Sandy Hook, Va.) led off by beating out a single deep in the hole at shortstop. He advanced two bases on an errant pickoff throw by Hernandez. John Barr (Jr., Ivyland, Pa.) then walked and one out later Taylor ripped a single to center to score Hicks.
A week after holding North Carolina hitless for the first five innings, Morey one-upped himself by pitching 5.1 hitless innings to start the game against Miami. Frankie Ratcliff recorded the Hurricanes’ first hit – a clean single to left field. One out later Yasmani Grandal rocketed a ball off the top of the right-field wall for a single, moving Ratcliff to third. Harold Martinez hit the next pitch to center for a single to pull Miami within 3-1. Morey rebounded to strike out Chris Pelaez swinging to squelch the threat.
With one out in the seventh, Parker hit his eighth triple of the season, breaking the single-season school record. It also was the 18th triple of his career, which is a school record and ranks 10th in ACC history. UVa squandered the opportunity though as Hicks struck out looking and Barr grounded back to the mound.
In the eighth inning Miami (39-14, 20-9) put the leadoff runner on when Zeke DeVoss walked against Morey. Winiarski came on in his first career relief outing after 12 starts and induced a flyout from Ratcliff before walking Lawson and Grandal to load the bases. Martinez then grounded back to Winiarski, who started a 1-2-3 double play to end the threat.
The series and regular season come to a conclusion at noon Saturday.