The Canes needed a victory … Badly. After suffering another blown lead in a loss to FAU, Miami pulled together just enough of an effort to beat No. 24 Virginia 3-2 in extra innings March 23 at Mark Light Field.
Fortunately for UM (10-11, 4-3 ACC), its pitching staff stepped up and freshman infielder Raymond Gil hit a walk-off single in the 11th inning for the victory.
Senior pitcher Jeb Bargfeldt pitched 7 2/3 innings – tying a season high – and allowed two runs on six hits and struck out four Cavaliers (13-8, 3-4 ACC).
After struggling in the sixth inning, Bargfeldt battled back and retired five-straight batters in the seventh and eighth innings. From there, reliever Jeremy Cook shutdown Virginia over the last three innings.
Miami struggled at the plate for most of the evening, and much like the pitching staff, had to show a great amount of mental toughness in order to pull out the victory. With the game tied 2-2 in the seventh inning, the Canes strung together a couple hits, only to overrun third base and get thrown out before putting any runs on the board.
It seemed like all offensive momentum had been lost until the 10th inning when Miami found itself with the bases loaded and only one out. But pinch hitter Tony Jenkins grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The play sucked the energy out of the ballpark, and it looked like the Hurricanes were going to lose another close game.
But junior Frankie Bartow (1-0) took just six pitches to get out of the top of the 11th inning, and UM broke through with bases loaded in the bottom of the inning for the victory.
A close win over a quality opponent was just what the Hurricanes needed after struggling mightily throughout the beginning stages of the season. They will look to build upon it as they face the Cavaliers in game two of the series 7 p.m. Saturday, March 24 at Mark Light Field.