Virginia Dodges Miami, Rain Delays for 6-4 Win
DURHAM, N.C. – Nearly 12 hours after the first pitch, the Virginia baseball team outlasted Miami, 6-4, Friday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park in the ACC Baseball Championship. The teams waited out seven hours and 30 minutes worth of weather delays, combined with a three-hour, 56-minute game, in a marathon day at DBAP.
Virginia (47-9) is the top seed in the tournament, while Miami (35-21) is the No. 5 seed. The Cavaliers are the first team in the tournament to move to 2-0 in pool play, while Miami dropped to 1-1 and was eliminated from championship contention. The Cavaliers conclude pool play at approximately 7:30 p.m. Saturday against No. 4-seeded North Carolina.
After starting at 11:07 a.m., the game was halted on two separate occasions because of the weather. The first stoppage came at 11:38 a.m. in the bottom of the second inning and lasted seven hours and 24 minutes. There also was a six-minute stoppage in the sixth inning. Nearly three-and-a-half inches of rain fell in the Durham area during the first stoppage. In all, 11 hours and 26 minutes elapsed between the game’s first and final pitches.
Virginia’s offense racked up 15 hits for the second straight game. Kenny Swab (Sr., Kernersville, N.C.) tied a career high with four hits and also racked up four RBI, including the go-ahead three-run double. David Coleman (Sr., Richmond, Va.) added a trio of hits as eight of the Cavaliers’ nine starters posted at least one hit apiece.
UVa reliever Justin Thompson (Jr., Danville, Va.) earned the win to improve to 3-1 this year; he pitched 2.1 innings and allowed a run while striking out five. Branden Kline worked the final 1.2 innings to clinch the win and nab his 16th save, which is two shy of the school and ACC single-season record. UVa pitchers stranded 11 Miami runners on base, while the Hurricanes went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
Travis Miller (2-1), the third of seven Miami pitchers, took the loss after giving up four runs (three earned) and six hits in an inning of work.
Virginia starting pitcher Will Roberts (Jr., Richmond, Va.) fired 5.0 innings, giving up two earned runs, three hits and three walks while striking out five. After allowing a two-run home run in the first inning, Roberts settled down and fired four scoreless innings after returning from the rain delay.
The Cavaliers sat on a 2-0 deficit for more than seven hours during the first stoppage of play after Miami’s Rony Rodriguez swatted a two-run homer to left field in the first inning.
After the long rain delay, the Cavaliers promptly cut a run from the lead on a sacrifice fly by Steven Proscia (Jr., Suffern, N.Y.), scoring Chris Taylor (So., Virginia Beach, Va.), who led off the third inning with a single.
UVa forged ahead for the first time in the sixth inning, while benefiting from a one-out fielding error by second baseman Zeke DeVoss. Following the error the Cavaliers strung together four straight hits to produce a pair of runs. After Danny Hultzen (Jr., Bethesda, Md.) reached on the error, he stole second and scored on a single to right by Swab. Coleman and Jared King (Jr., Radford, Va.) hit consecutive singles to load the bases before Keith Werman (Jr., Vienna, Va.) singled over the drawn-in infield to give the Cavaliers a 3-2 lead.
Miami quickly responded in its half of the sixth on a leadoff triple by Harold Martinez and Chris Pelaez’s run-scoring grounder which was booted at second base by Werman. A single by Brad Fieger, coupled with a UVa throwing error, put runners at first and third with one out. Thompson then induced Stephen Perez to line out and struck out Dale Carey and Shane Rowland to escape further damage and keep the game tied.
Virginia moved ahead again in the seventh. After consecutive singles by John Hicks (Jr., Sandy Hook, Va.) and Proscia, Hultzen laid down a bunt, and all hands were safe when Hicks slid in safely before the throw to third. Swab then launched a double over the head of Carey in right field. The hit cleared the bases, giving the Cavaliers a 6-3 advantage.
Miami put the first two runners on base in the seventh inning, but Thompson again worked out of the jam. The Hurricanes chipped a run from the lead in the eighth, but left the bases loaded against Kline. After a one-out single by Perez against Thompson, Kline came on in relief and walked Carey before giving up a run-scoring double to pinch hitter Chantz Mack. With the bases loaded and one out, Kline averted further problems by striking out the final two batters. He then retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth.