#1 UVa. rallies to knock off #16 Miami, takes series

Will Roberts (Jr., Richmond, Va.) worked into the eighth inning in an outstanding pitching performance, and the No. 1-ranked Virginia baseball team scored four runs in the seventh inning in a 5-4 victory over No. 16 Miami Sunday afternoon in front of a season-high 4,700 fans at Davenport Field. Virginia honored its six fourth-year student-athletes as well as manager Rod Larson in Senior Day ceremonies following the game.

Virginia (45-6, 22-5 ACC) took two of three games in the series to win its ninth straight ACC series this year and its 15th straight overall, dating to the 2010 season.

Roberts (10-0) allowed two runs (one earned), three hits and a walk in 7.0 innings while striking out five. He pitched to one batter in the eighth inning. In picking up his 10th win this year, Roberts becomes just the seventh pitcher in Virginia history to notch 10 or more wins in a season.

Branden Kline (So., Bethesda, Md.) pitched the ninth for Virginia to earn his league-leading 15th save.

Miami starting pitcher E.J. Encinosa (4-5) fired 5.2 shutout innings before the Cavaliers got to him in the sixth and seventh innings. He gave up five earned runs and six hits while fanning a pair in 6.2 innings.

All five of Virginia’s runs came after two batters were out. John Hicks (Jr., Sandy Hook, Va.) and Danny Hultzen (Jr., Bethesda, Md.) picked up a pair of hits to lead the Cavaliers’ eight-hit effort at the plate. Nathan Melendres notched two hits to lead Miami (32-18, 17-9), which finished with six hits.

After Roberts retired the first 10 Miami batters, the Hurricanes cracked the scoreboard in the fourth inning. With one out Stephen Perez bunted his way on, and Nathan Melendres followed with a bloop single to center. The two then combined on a double steal, and catcher John Hicks’ throw to second sailed wide and into center field, allowing Perez to score and Melendres to move to third. Roberts escaped further damage, forcing Rory Rodriguez to ground into a fielder’s choice, with Melendres getting thrown out at the plate, then inducing Harold Martinez to ground back to the mound to end the inning.

Encinosa handcuffed the Cavaliers for the first 5.2 innings, allowing just a pair of hits before UVa broke through. With two outs John Barr (Jr., Ivyland, Pa.) was hit by Encinosa’s 3-2 pitch. He stole second and scored when Hicks slapped a single to right-center field.

The seventh inning was a carbon copy of the sixth, with the Cavaliers scoring four times to take a 5-1 lead. With two outs David Coleman (Sr., Richmond, Va.) was hit by a 2-2 pitch. He stole second, then scored when Jared King (Jr., Radford, Va.) doubled down the right-field line. Chris Taylor (So., Virginia Beach, Va.) followed with an RBI double down the left-field line and scored on a Keith Werman (Jr., Vienna, Va.) single. Barr then singled to right-center to plate Werman with the fourth run of the inning.

Miami chipped a run from the lead in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Zeke DeVoss.

The Hurricanes made things interesting in the ninth inning. Melendres led off with a single. Rodriguez followed with a hard grounder to Taylor at shortstop, who first booted the ball, then threw it away for a second error, allowing Melendres to move to third. A wild pitch allowed Rodriguez to move to second. Martinez then hit a sacrifice fly to center, and Brad Fieger singled in Rodriguez to cut the lead to 5-4. Pinch runner Chantz Mack then was thrown out attempting to steal second for the second out. Kline fanned Cade Kreuter to end the game.

Virginia wraps up the home portion of its 2011 schedule at 6 p.m. Tuesday when it plays host to High Point. The Cavaliers conclude the regular season Thursday through Saturday at No. 9 North Carolina. Heading into the final weekend of ACC play, Virginia holds a two-game lead over Georgia Tech in the ACC Coastal Division standings.

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