Four-run eighth lifts UVA past #9 Miami, 5-2

uva-miami1The UVA baseball team rallied for four runs in the eighth inning to down No. 9 Miami, 5-2, Saturday afternoon in front of 4,228 spectators at Davenport Field. The Cavaliers (24-14, 9-11 ACC) have captured the first two games with the Hurricanes (29-11, 14-6) to clinch the series win and go for the series sweep at 10 a.m. Sunday. The game time has been moved from the original 1 p.m. start time because of incoming inclement weather.

Virginia picked up its sixth straight series win against Miami and won Saturday after getting to Miami closer Bryan Garcia for four runs in the eighth inning. Adam Haseley (Fr., Windermere, Fla.) hit the tie-breaking, two-run single to give UVa the lead for good.

“Last night was a great team victory and certainly today’s was as well,” Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor said. “I thought our guys really battled (Miami starter) Andrew Suarez and hung in there, and Connor Jones had his best outing of the year as a starter for us. His stuff was really good and it was in the strike zone. He was tremendous today and pounded the strike zone with all of his pitches. We really needed that from him. It was just a great team victory.”

Jones matched a career high by working 7 2/3 innings and struck out a career-best 11 batters. He allowed two runs (one earned), six hits and two walks in his best start in a Virginia uniform. Kevin Doherty (Jr., Laytonsville, Va.) picked up the win after getting the final out of the eighth inning. Josh Sborz (Jr., McLean, Va.) retired the side in order in the ninth to gain his 11th save.

Garcia (4-2) did not retire a batter and allowed all four UVa runs in the eighth inning as he took the loss. UM starter Andrew Suarez allowed an unearned run, five hits and three walks while striking out five in 5 2/3 innings. Willie Abreu went 4-for-4, accounting for more than half of the Hurricanes’ seven hits.

After the first six Cavaliers were retired in order, Virginia had traffic on the basepaths in each of their final six trips to the plate. Robbie Coman (Jr., Lake Worth, Fla.) and Charlie Cody (Fr., Chesapeake, Va.) each recorded three hits, as both matched career highs. Cody also had key outfield assist at the plate to end the top of the eighth inning and keep UVa within a run.

Virginia scored a run in the third inning when Haseley grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and none out, bringing Matt Thaiss (So., Jackson, N.J.) home. The Hurricanes knotted the score in the fifth inning on an RBI grounder from Carl Chester, then moved ahead in the sixth inning on a two-out RBI single to center from Abreu.

Miami had an opportunity to extend its lead in the eighth inning. After Zack Collins and David Thompson hit back-to-back two-out singles, Virginia brought Doherty in to face Abreu, who slapped a single to left field, but Cody came up firing and nailed Collins at the plate to keep the deficit at one run.

UVa left a pair of runners on base in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and left the bases loaded in the seventh, but the Cavaliers pushed across four runs in the eighth while sending 10 batters to the plate against four Miami pitchers. Suarez faced five batters, and each of them reached base. Coman led off with a double and Thaiss walked. Cody then laid down a bunt which rolled down the third-base line and came to a stop just inside the line for a single to load the bases.

Jack Gerstenmaier (Fr., Richmond, Va.) was hit by a pitch to force in a run, and Haseley followed by lining a single to center to score pinch runner Thomas Woodruff (Sr., Clifton, Va.) and Cody to give UVa a 4-2 lead. After Daniel Pinero (So., Toronto, Ontario) bunted the runners over against reliever Daniel Briggi, Pavin Smith (Fr., Jupiter, Fla.) grounded out to bring home pinch runner Justin Novak (Fr., Tokyo, Japan).

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.


The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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