After dropping the Friday matchup due to a rough first inning, the ‘Hoos responded by riding stellar starting pitching to back to back wins and yet another series victory. This time, victories came over the visiting No. 16 Miami Hurricanes.
After putting themselves in a 0-5 hole after the first inning, the Cavaliers gave it their all to come back but fell short. The atrocious first inning was very uncharacteristic of UVa’s ace Danny Hultzen. Miami took a 0-5 lead after tallying four hits, a walk, and took advantage of two UVa errors. The ‘Hoos fought back and scored two in the fourth inning but couldn’t convert in other innings and left six runners on base throughout the game. Even though he ended up taking the loss for the game, Hultzen had a rather strong outing by shutting out Miami over the next six innings and striking out 9. Limit the errors in the first inning and baserunning mistakes through the rest of the game and the end result could have been a lot different.
On Saturday, the story of the game was clearly the final home regular season start of Tyler Wilson’s career and he did not disappoint. Wilson had the best start of his career going 7.2 innings and striking out 11 while taking a perfect game until giving up a two out double in the sixth inning. The ‘Hoos scratched across single runs in third, sixth, and seventh to take a 2-0 lead into the 9th. 2nd year closer Branden Kline came on with two outs in the 8th and decided to make it fun in the 9th. Kline gave up two runs in the 9th and I got to listen to coaches sitting in the stands talk about how terrible Kline is on the mound, the fact that UVa needed a new closer, and Coach O’Connor hadn’t strategized well enough. Kline closed the game out to earn his 14th save of the season, four off the UVa record.
Many will remember Will Roberts this year for his perfect game against George Washington. Some will remember the great starts he gave the Cavaliers the rest of the year. Roberts turned in another excellent start on Sunday giving up one ER on three hits while striking out five over his seven innings. Crockett, Thompson, and Kline combined to close out the final two innings and secure the series victory. At the plate, Chris Taylor, John Barr, Jared King, and Keith Werman all had a hit, rbi, and run scored to give the lead UVa wouldn’t relinquish. John Hicks and Danny Hultzen also added at the plate with two hits of their own.
The two victories moved the top ranked Cavaliers improved their record to 45-6 overall and 22-5 in the ACC. If the ‘Hoos can win 2/3 this weekend in Carolina they would tie the ACC record for conference wins in a season with Clemson team from 2006 and FSU teams from 2007 and 2008.
On Tuesday, the Cavaliers will close out the home portion of their schedule against High Point. The Hoos will then travel to Chapel Hill to take on the Tar Heels Thurs-Sat in the final series of the season. UVa holds a two game lead over the Yellow Jackets with three games to play. A singe UVa win this weekend will give the ‘Hoos their second consecutive regular season ACC title.