Virginia Takes Game 1 at No. 1 Miami, 6-5
April 23, 2016
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The Virginia baseball team scored five runs in the first inning and held on late in defeating top-ranked Miami, 6-5, Friday night at Alex Rodriguez Park in Coral Gables, Fla. Virginia (25-16, 10-9 ACC) escaped bases-loaded jams in the seventh and ninth innings to hold off the Hurricanes (29-7, 13-4).
“It was a huge Friday night win for us against a great opponent and the No. 1 team in the country,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “I was really proud of Connor Jones. After the (weather) delay, he pitched great baseball and got us to the eighth inning. That was a big growing up two innings for Tommy Doyle. To close the game against the No. 1 team in the country on the road, that will benefit him and our team greatly.”
Nate Eikhoff (Fr., Bristow, Va.) and Pavin Smith (So., Jupiter, Fla.) each had a pair of hits for UVA. Eikhoff hit a three-run home run in the first inning, while Cameron Simmons (Fr., Royersford, Pa.) homered in the ninth inning. Ernie Clement (So., Rochester, N.Y.) hit a first-inning double to extend his hit streak to a career-high 12 games.
Virginia starter Connor Jones (Jr., Chesapeake, Va.) worked seven innings, giving up four runs (one earned), eight hits and two walks while striking out three. He earned the win to improve to 8-1 on the year. Tommy Doyle worked the final two innings and left the bases loaded in the ninth to earn the save.
Miami starter Thomas Woodrey (4-3) worked 4 2/3 innings before the delay and did not return afterwards. He took the loss after allowing five earned runs, eight hits and a walk with one strikeout. The Miami bullpen allowed only two hits over 4 1/3 innings.
Virginia stormed to a 5-0 lead by racking up seven hits and sending 10 batters to the plate in the first inning. With two outs and Clement on third base, Smith smacked a run-scoring single to left, starting a string of six straight hits. After a Daniel Pinero (Jr., Toronto, Ontario) single, Eikhoff launched a three-run homer over the right-field wall for his first college home run. Charlie Cody (So., Chesapeake, Va.), Doak Dozier (Fr., Fort Worth, Texas) and Justin Novak (So., Tokyo, Japan) hit consecutive singles to push across a fifth run.
Miami scored a pair of unearned runs in the fourth inning. A two-base Novak throwing error put runners at second and third with one out, and Willie Abreu hit a run-scoring grounder before Christopher Barr lined a single to right to cut the Hurricanes’ deficit to 5-2.
The teams went into a lightning delay at 8:28 p.m., with the weather delay lasting one hour, 22 minutes.
Miami trimmed it to 5-4 in the sixth with a pair of two-out scores. Jacob Heyward launched a 3-2 pitch over the left-field wall for a solo home run, and after Abreu reached on a two-base fielding error, Barr singled to right to score the run. UM loaded the bases with one out in the seventh inning, but Jones induced a 4-6-3 double play from Brandon Lopez to end it.
Virginia added a key insurance run in the ninth when Simmons launched a solo home run to left field, his third blast of the year.
The homer proved to be pivotal when Edgar Michelangeli ripped a first-pitch pitch home run off the light pole in left field in the bottom of the ninth. Randy Batista then drew a walk and was sacrificed to second by Carl Chester. After a Johnny Ruiz fly out to center, UVA intentionally walked Zack Collins before Lopez forced a walk to load the bases. Doyle then got Heyward to pop out to second base on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.
Game 2 is slated for 7 p.m. Saturday and the series finale is at 1 p.m. Sunday. ESPN3 has the video broadcasts for the full series. WINA 1070-AM and 98.9-FM have the radio call of all three games. Links to live statistics also can be found on VirginiaSports.com. VirginiaSports.com has the audio broadcasts through a Cavaliers Live subscription.