Coming into the year, everyone knew the Virginia lineup had a chance to be special. And it has been. The starting pitching would be young and inconsistent, and it has been. But the biggest question mark would be the bullpen. The Hoos returned most of the arms that plagued them last year, but this season has been a complete turnaround. What was looked at as a potential liability has become a strength. For the second night in a row, the Hoos got spectacular relief efforts, this time from Bennett Sousa and once again from Tommy Doyle.
Sousa entered the game with the Hurricanes threatening. Hunter Tackett had just doubled to pull the ‘Canes within one, 3-2 in the top of the fifth. Miami had runners at second and third with one out. Sousa then recorded a strike out and got Christopher Barr to line out to shortstop to get out of the inning.
Then with the Hoos still leading 3-2 Doyle entered the game for the two-inning save/win. After some adversity in the eighth which saw Miami knot the game at three, Doyle would settle down and get out of the inning and give his team a chance to win it in the bottom of the inning.
The Hoos ran out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to runs in the third and fourth innings. Jake McCarthy struck first with a booming home run to right field in the bottom of the third. Then Andy Weber delivered a sacrifice fly to score a run and Ernie Clement notched an RBI single in the fourth to stake Virginia to a 3-0 lead.
Miami stuck back in the fifth on the Tackett double that chased Casey from the game. They’d then tie the game in the eighth on a Joe Gomez ground out to third that Eikhoff was unable to handle, though he did get the out at first, but not before Tackett scored on the play.
After Doyle was able to escape that frame only giving up the one run, the Hoos came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth looking to pull ahead. And that they did. Virginia sent all nine batters to the plate scoring four runs and pulling away to seal the win. It all started with a Cameron Simmons single to left. He was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Eikhoff. Weber then got redemption from the mishandled grounder in the top half of the inning by singling to right and scoring the go-ahead run. Clement was hit by a pitch and on the next batter, the Miami third baseman threw the ball into rightfield while trying for a force out at second base on a McCarthy grounder. Weber and Clement scored on the throwing error while McCarthy ended up at third base. He’d score two batters later on a Pavin Smith RBI fly out making the score 7-3.
That would be all Doyle would need as he got into a little hot water in the ninth giving up a run to make the score 7-4, but would settle down to earn the win.
For Virginia, Clement, McCarthy, and Simmons all had two hits with McCarthy and Weber leading the way with two RBI apiece.
Virginia hosts their final mid-week game of the season when they welcome Richmond on Tuesday night at 6 P.M. Then the Hoos will conclude their regular season with a trip to Atlanta to face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a series that kicks off Thursday, also at 6 P.M.