You got the feeling that Virginia would need every run and more to outlast the number one Miami Hurricanes. After the Canes exploded for nine runs in three short innings, the three run cushion Virginia built early in Sunday's game just didn't seem safe. Alec Bettinger gave Virginia everything he had, holding the potent Miami lineup to just four hits. Then just when they needed to the Virginia bats delivered, led by Daniel Pinero's three hits, including his first home run of the season.
Virginia got on the board first, when Charlie Cody delivered an RBI single to score Pinero. Then in the fourth, Pinero led off with a solo home run, and Cody would score on Ernie Clement's single up the middle and stake Virginia to a 3-0 lead. Miami would get two back in the bottom of the frame, when Bettinger walked the leadoff man bringing up the ever-dangerous Zack Collins. Collins hit a ball high into the wind in left center that just carried over a leaping Cody at the wall for a two-run home run.
Miami struck again in the sixth thanks two singles and an RBI groundout to tie the score at three. The inning could have been much worse had Bettinger not been able to pick off Miami's Jacob Hayward at first to end the inning.
The top of the seventh saw Virginia pull away for good, when after Cam Simmons and Clement both reached, Matt Thaiss delivered his team leading 40th and 41st RBIs of the season on a two-out base hit to left center.
Then in the bottom of the eighth, Virginia came up with its second outstanding defensive play that killed Miami rallies. Clinging to a 5-3 lead, Virginia allowed the first two Canes of the inning reach. After the Miami batter was unable to get a bunt down, Thaiss caught Zach Collins taking a bit too big of a secondary lead and threw behind as Collins took off for third. Pinero deftly cut the ball off and threw a strike to Justin Novak at third to retire Collins. Kevin Doherty and Tommy Doyle would get out of the inning unscathed.
The Hoos got two more runs in the ninth, thanks in part to an error by the Miami shortstop. That would be all Doyle would need as he shut down the Canes in the ninth to pick up his second save of the weekend.
Pinero led the Hoos at the plate with three hits, two RBI, and two runs scored. Cody chipped in two hits, one RBI, and scored one run, but the story for Virginia was on the mound. Bettinger gave the Hoos their best performance by a starter on a Sunday all season going six innings, giving up three earned runs on only four hits and four walks, while adding two strike outs. Then the Cavaliers' bullpen held Miami scoreless giving up four hits, but most importantly no walks. The pen was led by Doyle who pitched 1.1 innings, giving up no hits, no walks, and striking out three.
Virginia will be in action again on Tuesday as they travel to Norfolk to take on ODU in a game that will be played in Harbor Park. First pitch is at 12 p.m. Then next weekend, Virginia is on the road again for a pivotal ACC Coastal series against the Pitt Panthers.