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Canes Drop Game 2 at Virginia, 4-0

by David Villavicencio

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Miami held Virginia to just one hit on Saturday, but it was all the offense the Cavaliers needed to even the series against the Hurricanes.

The No. 18 Canes outhit the Cavaliers, 5 to 1, but Devin Ortiz’s bases-loaded triple proved to be the difference in Game 2 at Disharoon Park.

“Early on, we were having good at-bats and we were getting them out quickly, one pitch, one out, so we were getting quick outs,” head coach Gino DiMare said. “Victor [Mederos] was doing a great job where in the first four innings were I think he basically got three up, three down. They had somebody on and they were running and we threw the guy out, so just 12 batters in four innings. We were moving along and the game was moving very fast. Just one of those games where we were getting good at-bats and hitting balls hard, we were getting quick outs, easy outs, and you could tell the energy was on our side. Then that inning just happened so fast and we didn’t have enough time to get someone ready.”

Miami (11-8, 6-7 ACC) had a baserunner in each of the first six innings, but it was Virginia that scored first despite being hitless over the first four frames. UVA (10-12, 4-10 ACC) loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, as UM starter Victor Mederos walked three batters before Ortiz tripled and scored when an errant throw went into the Virginia dugout.

“Vic was cruising and we just didn’t have enough time to get somebody going in the bullpen,” DiMare said. “It happened really quickly. We started getting somebody going but he wasn’t ready to come in for Ortiz. A few walks in that inning and the guy hits the ball, gets it up in the air and you’ve got to give credit to the guy. He got a big hit with the bases loaded and we ended up not really playing that very well defensively on the relay and not being able to back it up, and all the guys scored. It’s a crazy game.”

The triple was Virginia’s only hit of the game and marked the end of the afternoon for Mederos, who was lights out over the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. Jake Smith replaced the true freshman on the mound and got two quick outs to end the inning, but the Cavaliers had a 4-0 lead.

“I thought our pitchers threw well,” DiMare said. “I thought Vic threw outstanding except for that one inning and we did swing the bat well in the first half of the game. The second half was a little bit fewer and farther between in terms of guys getting good at-bats.”

Smith was strong out of Miami’s bullpen, tying a career-high with three strikeouts over 2.2 scoreless inning. Lefty Alex Munroe tossed a scoreless eighth, but Miami could not get a rally going in the ninth and Virginia closed out the victory.

“He did a good job and Alex did too in his one inning,” DiMare said of Smith. “One swing of the bat could tie the game if we could have gotten baserunners on and loaded the bases. Those guys did a good job and it helped save the bullpen. Palmquist will be available again tomorrow and we’ll have a lot of guys fresh to go in the bullpen.”

UVA starter Andrew Abbott scattered four hits over eight shutout innings, striking out seven batters before turning the ball over the Blake Bales. The right-handed reliever allowed just a two-out hit to Christian Del Castillo before wrapping up the game and evening the series at a game apiece.

Miami and Virginia are set to close out the weekend series Sunday at 1 p.m. The Cavaliers are scheduled to throw right-hander Mike Vasil, while right-hander Jordan Dubberly will make his first career start for the Hurricanes.