No. 1 Virginia Takes Series from No. 16 Hurricanes

May 15, 2011

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E W: Will Roberts (10-0)
#16 Miami 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 4 6 2 L: E.J. Encinosa (4-5)
#1 Virginia 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 X 5 8 3 S: Branden Kline (15)

2B: M. Broad, C. Taylor, D. Hultzen, J. King
3B: N/A
RBI: Z. DeVoss, H. Martinez, B. Fieger, C. Taylor, J. Barr, J. Hicks, J. King, K. Werman
SB: S. Perez, N. Melendres, J. Barr, D. Coleman

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The No. 1 Virginia Cavaliers scored four runs with two outs in the seventh inning to take down the visiting No. 16 Miami Hurricanes by a count of 5-4 at Davenport Field in the rubber match of the three-game Atlantic Coast Conference baseball series. UVa took the series, 2-1, winning the final two games on Saturday and Sunday.

It was a case of déjà vu for the Hurricanes (32-18, 17-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) in the seventh inning – mirroring the sixth in almost the exact same fashion. Starting pitcher E.J. Encinosa hits the batter with two outs; the runner takes second on a steal; and the next batter knocks him in. That would lead to the big inning the top-ranked Cavaliers were seeking against the hard-throwing Encinosa, who had kept them under control for 6 2/3 innings.

With the game tied at 1-all, Virginia’s David Coleman was hit by an Encinosa pitch and then took second base on a steal. That allowed first baseman Jared King to cross him with a two-out double down the right field line over the first base bag – advancing the Cavs to a 2-1 lead.

The next two batters for UVa – Werman and Taylor – each registered doubles to blow open the game at 4-1.

The fifth and final run for the Cavaliers (45-6, 22-5 ACC) came across off relief pitcher Daniel Miranda when John Barr singled to right center to plate Taylor, before being called out trying to advance to second on the throw to the plate. A play that went 9-2-6 earned the third out, but the damage was already done.

But a resilient Hurricanes team mounted a comeback attempt in the ninth that was almost similar to Saturday’s contest. With UVa closer Branden Kline on the mound to try and close the game out, the Miami bats came alive.

Nathan Melendres singled and Rony Rodriguez reached on an error by shortstop Chris Taylor to put two men on to begin the ninth. Both runners would advance on a wild pitch before Harold Martinez hit a deep sacrifice fly to center field to plate Melendres and advance Rodriguez. The Hurricanes would make it 5-4 in the next at-bat, using a Brad Fieger RBI single to center in order to advance Rodriguez 90 feet to the plate.

Chantz Mack entered the game as a pinch runner for Fieger, but was caught stealing second for the second out of the inning. After Dale Carey walked to put the tying run on first, sophomore pinch hitter Cade Kreuter represented the go-ahead run – but a Kline slider struck him out swinging, stopping the Canes’ rally attempt just short for the second consecutive day.

Miami opened the game’s scoring with a double-steal by Stephen Perez and Nathan Melendres. The throw to get Melendres at second was high from UVa catcher John Hicks, with the ball rolling into center field to allow the speedy Perez to trot in from third for the 1-0 Canes advantage.

The Hurricanes had a chance to widen the lead when Rony Rodriguez hit a ball right to second baseman Keith Werman, but UM’s Nathan Melendres was thrown out at the plate streaking home from third on the hit, as the throw from Werman was well in time for the out to Hicks at the plate.

Virginia tied it up in the bottom of the sixth as the Cavs took advantage of Barr being hit by a pitch and stealing second. The tying run came across off the bat of John Hicks with a two-out single through the right side.

The win went to Virginia starter Rob Wilson who pitched seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and striking out five. He would keep his record clean on the year at 10-0, while Kline earned his 16th save of the year with an inning tossed and two runs allowed on two hits – both runs being unearned.

Miami’s E.J. Encinosa dropped to 4-5 on the year with the loss, throwing 6 2/3 innings with five earned runs (all coming in a span of two innings) on six hits and two strike outs, Daniel Miranda closed the game with 1 1/3 pitched and two hits scattered.

Offensively, Virginia was led by John Hicks with two hits – including a RBI, as well as Danny Hultzen with two hits on the day.

Miami was paced by Melendres’ two-hit day and a run scored. Fieger, Martinez and Zeke DeVoss accounted for the three RBI on the day for the Canes.

The Hurricanes will get back on the diamond Tuesday, May 17, when the Canes host Florida Atlantic at Alex Rodriguez Park beginning at 6 p.m.

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