Maybe it was a little rust after the long exam break, but the ACC’s leading offense got off to a bit of a slow start Saturday. After heavy rains postponed Friday night’s game, Virginia struggled out of the gate in the first game only registering three hits in a 5-1 loss. However, they’d prove that to be an aberration scoring 13 runs in the second game and forcing a Sunday matchup to see who takes the series.
In the first game, Miami used a stellar pitching performance from left hander, Jeb Bargfeldt. The junior pitched a complete game three-hitter, keeping the potent Virginia offense at bay for the whole day. Only Adam Haseley appeared to be able to do anything as he logged two hits including his team leading 13th home run of the season.
The Hurricanes got on the board first with an RBI double by Johnny Ruiz that scored Carl Chester in the top of the first inning. Then in the third, Miami got the eventual winning runs with a home run by Romy Gonzalez that scored Michael Burns and Chester and staked the ‘Canes to a 4-0 lead.
Virginia was able to trim the lead to three in the fourth thanks to the home run by Haseley. But that’s as close as they’d get. Miami added another run in the sixth just for good measure.
Daniel Lynch went 5.2 innings for the Hoos, giving up five earned runs on six hits, two walks, and four strikeouts. He didn’t pitch poorly as if given some run support the game could have ended up much differently. Ernie Clement chipped in the only other hit for the Cavaliers.
The second game saw the Cavaliers make up for their struggles at the plate in the first game as they pounded 10 hits and scored 13 runs on their way to a 13-6 win to even the series.
Just as they did in the first game, Miami raced out to an early lead getting one run in the top of the first on a Hunter Tackett single that scored Ruiz. They extended their lead to 4-0 in the top of the second thanks to an RBI double by Chester and an RBI single by Ruiz.
But the Hoos would answer in the bottom of the second, sending 13 men to plate and scoring eight runs, all with two outs. The Cavaliers used small ball to score, utilizing RBI singles by Justin Novak, Clement, Jake McCarthy, and Cameron Simmons while also earning RBI walks from Pavin Smith, Robbie Coman and Caleb Knight.
Miami would make it a game scoring a pair of runs in the top of the sixth thanks to RBIs by Chester and Burns, but the Hoos would break it open in the bottom half scoring five runs good for a 13-6 lead. McCarthy walked to start the inning, he’d advance on a wild pitch before Smith walked as well. In what became something of a trend, Coman walked to load the bases and Knight got an RBI the easy way (his second of the day) with another walk that scored McCarthy. That would keep the bases loaded for Simmons who’d rip an Andrew Cabezas pitch over the center field wall for a grand slam.
While the Hoos offense certainly showed up in the second game, the story was the performance by Alec Bettinger. After Miami roughed up starter Noah Murdock for four runs through the first two innings, Bettinger entered the game in the third inning squelched any Miami momentum. The senior pitched six innings giving up two earned runs on four hits, five walks, and added seven strike outs. It was just what the Cavaliers needed preserving the bullpen for the rubber match tomorrow and the type of performance he’s been delivering all season.
Clement and Simmons led the way with two hits apiece, highlighted of course by the big blast off the bat of Simmons. Knight managed two RBIs without a hit, as he drew three walks and scored two runs of his own.
The teams square off in a Sunday showdown to see who takes the series. First pitch is at 1 P.M. and will be televised on ACC Network Extra. Haseley takes the mound for the Cavaliers in his normal Sunday start.