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Baseball: No. 19 Miami holds off late Virginia surge

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

uva baseballVirginia (9-12, 3-10 ACC) scored in its last three trips to the plate and had the tying run on first in the ninth but No. 19 Miami (11-7, 6-6 ACC) held on to an 8-6 victory in the series opener on Friday.

The Cavalier offense collected 13 hits on the day, the most in an ACC contest this season. Senior Christian Hlinka (Frenchtown, N.J.), who matched a career-high with three hits, was one of five multi-hit performers for the Virginia offense.

The Cavaliers hit three solo home runs including back-to-back round-trippers from Kyle Teel (Mahwah, N.J.) and Zack Gelof (Rehoboth Beach, Del.) in the seventh inning. Gelof’s homer stayed within the confines of Disharoon Park and he raced around the bases for his second inside the park home run of his career. Senior Devin Ortiz (Nutley, N.J.) hit his third long ball in four games with a blast to left field in the eighth off of Carson Palmquist. It was the first run and extra base hit that Palmquist surrendered in the prior 13.2 innings he’s pitched this season.

“We had a number of guys that had great approaches at the plate today throughout our lineup,” head coach Brian O’Connor said. “It just wasn’t enough, we just couldn’t hold them down. If we had just managed a couple of those innings a little bit better, we would have won that ballgame. I think our guys fight (and) energy throughout the entire game was impressive. We’re not going to go away, we’re going to keep grinding and find our way.”

The Cavaliers took an initial lead of the game in the second inning on RBI doubles by Hlinka and Max Cotier (New Milford, Conn.). After leaving the bases loaded in three of the first four innings, Miami finally broke through with five runs in the sixth, four of them were unearned and three were scored with two outs.

Virginia clawed its way back into the game and trailed 5-4 after the back-to-back homers from Teel and Gelof in the seventh. The Hurricanes created some separation in the eighth with a three-run rally started with a home run by Yohandy Morales to lead-off the frame.

Ortiz pulled Virginia within three in the bottom of the eighth on his sixth career homer and the Miami lead stayed at 8-5 after scoreless top of the ninth from Paul Kosanovich (San Gabriel, Calif.). The first three batters reached in the ninth for Virginia and Brendan Rivoli (Douglassville, Pa.) plated Teel with an RBI single up the middle. Palmquist went on to strike out the next three batters to halt the Cavalier comeback attempt and earned his sixth save of the season.

Rivoli went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI while Ortiz finished 2-for-3 with a walk, a run and an RBI.

The two innings that accounted for all eight Miami runs were fueled by four walks, two wild pitches, a hit batsman and an error.

The second game of the three-game series is set for a 1 p.m. start on Saturday (March 27). Virginia will have lefty Andrew Abbott (1-4) on the mound and he will be opposed by Miami righty Victor Mederos.

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