You can't keep an offense like Miami's down for too long. Unfortunately, the Hoos found that out the hard way as the Hurricanes scored seven runs in the bottom of the eighth and defeated Virginia by a score of 9-5 in the opening game of pool-play in the ACC Tournament. Connor Jones was once again spectacular going 7.1, surrendering four runs (two earned), on four hits, and only two walks while striking out seven. That is quite impressive considering the Hurricanes lead the ACC in every one of the major offensive statistical categories. On top of that, he held Miami's trio of first team All-ACC selections, George Iskendarian, Zack Collins, and David Thompson to a mere 2-9.
All was well heading into the bottom of the eighth. The Hoos led 5-2, but after getting the leadoff man to ground out, Jones gave up a single to Jacob Heyward followed by a walk to Ricky Eusabio and that would be it for Jones. Coach Brian O'Connor went to the bullpen and brought in Kevin Doherty who promptly gave up an RBI single to Christopher Barr. That would be it for Doherty who was relieved by Alec Bettinger. At this point the Hoos defense didn't do the pitchers any favors as an error by Ernie Clement allowed Iskendarian to reach, scoring Eusabio. After a Collins walk, Thompson ripped a two RBI single to center giving the 'Canes a 6-5 lead. As if that wasn't enough, the next batter Garrett Kennedy hit a three-run home run to right and put the last nail in the Cavalier's coffin.
Virginia's bats took a while to get going, however trailing 2-0 in the top of the sixth they finally showed some life. After Adam Hasely reached on a error, Daniel Pinero moved him to second with a single to center. Then Kenny Towns would provide the power hitting a three-run home run to left center field to give the Hoos a 3-2 lead. Virginia would tack on two more in the top of the eighth when Joe McCarthy ripped a double to right scoring Pavin Smith and Matt Thaiss.
For the Hoos to win the pool and advance to Sunday's Championship game, they need to win both of their remaining games while the Hurricane's need to lose both of their's. The former is very doable, however the latter looks highly unlikely.
The guys return to action on Friday at 11 A.M. when they face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.