May 15, 2005
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The University of Virginia baseball team (33-17, 11-14 ACC) recorded a 4-3 victory over the #4 ranked Miami Hurricanes (38-12-1, 19-7-1 ACC) in the third and final contest of a three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series in front of 1,756 spectators at Davenport Field at the UVa Baseball Stadium. After dropping a pair of hard-fought one-run decisions in the first two games of the series (7-6 & 1-0 on Friday and Saturday, respectively), Virginia finally got one to go its way. The Cavaliers scored two runs in the first inning, one in the second and another in the third and used solid pitching outings by Mike Ballard and Casey Lambert to hold off a late Hurricane charge to salvage the series.
"This was a big win for our team," said UVa head baseball coach Brian O'Connor. "It keeps us in the hunt in the ACC (standings) and our players showed a lot of character today after losing a pair of one-run games at home against Miami. To be able to battle back and win this game today was critical for us for the rest of the season. Mike Ballard pitched terrific for us today. He was the story of the game in my book. He got us deep into the ballgame which I felt was going to be critical for us to win."
Virginia got on the scoreboard first and took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. The first five Cavaliers that stepped to the plate reached base, including Matt Street (walk) and Mike Mitchell (bunt-single) to lead off the game. Ryan Zimmerman drove in the first run of the game when his RBI-single to right-center field plated Street to make it 1-0, before Sean Doolittle drove in Mitchell for another run one batter later on a RBI-single through the left side to give UVa a two-run lead.
The Cavaliers extended their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the second inning. Mike Campagna started the side off by reaching base after being hit by a pitch before he eventually moved to third base. Four batters later, Zimmerman drove him in for a run with a RBI-single through the left side to give Virginia a three-run lead.
Miami scored its first run of the game and made it a 3-1 ballgame in the top of the third inning when Eddy Rodriguez led off the side with a double down the left field line before he scored a run three batters later on a RBI-single to left field by Paco Figueroa. But Virginia answered back with a run of its own in the bottom half of the third inning to regain a three-run lead at 4-1. Brandon Guyer led off the side with a single through the right side and stole second base before he scored a run one batter later on a RBI-single up the middle by Scott Headd to give the Cavaliers a 4-1 advantage. Guyer's run and Headd's hit would eventually prove to be game-winners.
Trailing 4-1 in the top of the ninth inning, Miami wouldn't go away quietly. The Hurricanes turned a pair of walks into a pair of runs and cut Virginia's lead to 4-3 after Danny Valencia and Brendan Katin each scored a run on a two-out, two-run RBI-single to center field by Danny Figueroa. But the `Canes were unable to tally the game-tying run and the Cavaliers held on for the one-run victory.
Virginia's one-run ACC victory today was UVa's third this season after narrowly falling short in seven one-run ACC losses this season. The Cavaliers posted one-run wins over #4 Georgia Tech (2-1) and Maryland (6-5) earlier this year.
UVa's Ballard (8-3) started the game and picked up the win on the mound after going 6.0 innings. He allowed just one run on eight hits and struck out three batters without a walk. Lambert then entered the game in the seventh inning and went 3.0 innings and allowed two runs on three hits and struck out two batters to post his 12th save of the season.
Miami starting pitcher Manny Miguelez (1-1) took the loss after he was chased from the game after just 2.0 innings of action. He allowed three runs on six hits and struck out one batter.
Following the three-game series between the Cavaliers and Hurricanes, Miami now leads the all-time series with Virginia 9-4. However, the Cavaliers have won the last three Sunday contests in the last three three-game series against the Hurricanes after winning 17-2 on April 13, 2003 and 4-3 April 25, 2004 before posting today's 4-3 victory.
UVa will return to home action on Monday, May 16th when Virginia host North Carolina A&T in a non-conference game. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 PM at Davenport Field at the UVa Baseball Stadium.
-- UVa --
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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