The best show in college baseball right now is in Coral Gables.
Behind their bats, the No. 8 Miami Hurricanes (26-6, 13-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) came back from an early 3-0 deficit to defeat the No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers (26-6, 9-6 ACC) 15-5 and lengthen their longest winning streak since 2016.
Miami, which last appeared in the College World Series six years ago, extends its lead atop the ACC Coastal division and puts itself in position to be a consensus top-five team in America when the rankings are released Monday morning.
“Ever since we started the season, people didn’t think we would be doing what we are doing,” third baseman Yohandy Morales said. “We’re just trying to prove the haters wrong.”
The Hurricanes, who are no strangers to playing from behind this season, were forced to do so again on Sunday as the Cavaliers led 3-0 after the top of the third inning. RBI singles from three different Virginia batters gave the visitors the three-run lead.
Alejandro Rosario, making his third start in the ACC this season, went just four innings, allowing three runs on seven hits to go along with five walks and three strikeouts.
The hitting party started in the bottom of the third inning for the Canes when they batted around for the first of two times in the afternoon. At one point during the inning, the Hurricanes recorded five consecutive hits and seven consecutive runners reached base.
After an RBI single up the middle from first baseman CJ Kayfus, left fielder Edgardo Villegas deposited his third home run of the week over the wall in right field to give the Hurricanes a 4-3 advantage – a lead they would never relinquish. They would tack on one more run in the half inning off a throwing error from Cavaliers shortstop Griff O’Ferrall.
“I made an error earlier in the game and I was trying to help my team,” Villegas said. “We had guys in scoring position and I was just trying to help my team and hit the ball hard and thank god it went out.”
Miami, seemingly determined to outdo its effort in the third inning, batted around again in the fourth and scored six runs on just two hits. Virginia reliever Will Geerdes, who entered the game with a miniscule 1.53 ERA, walked four batters and hit another in the frame.
After walks from right fielder Gaby Gutierrez and second baseman Ariel Garcia, Kayfus registered his second RBI single of the day. Geerdes then walked Morales, allowed an RBI single to catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. and drilled Jacob Burke, all with the bases loaded.
New pitcher Matthew Buchanan allowed a free pass to Dominic Pitelli, scoring another run. An error on catcher Kyle Teel attempting to pick off Romero Jr. at first scored the sixth and final run of the frame for Miami.
“We swung the bat really well and made some plays defensively,” said head coach Gino DiMare. “It’s a team effort and the team picked up some of our pitchers.”
Miami’s bullpen, which has excelled throughout the team’s winning streak, patched together five innings in relief of Rosario. The combination of Alejandro Torres, Ronaldo Gallo, Rafe Schlesinger and Matt Raudelunas allowed just two runs on four hits in their five innings of work.
Virginia grabbed one run back in the sixth on an RBI sacrifice fly from Teel, snapping Miami’s streak of 11 consecutive unanswered runs. Chris Newell added a solo shot in the ninth.
“We have really good arms in the bullpen and we know that,” DiMare said. “JD [Arteaga] has done a good job with them. They’re starting to believe in themselves – I think they’ve got a lot of confidence.”
The Canes’ offense continued to produce throughout the game, tacking on three runs in the sixth, aided by a Jacoby Long RBI double. Pitelli got the Hurricanes to 15 runs with an RBI groundout in the seventh, his second RBI of the day.
Four Hurricanes recorded multi-RBI performances on a day when Miami recorded 13 hits. Virginia, which had 11 hits, finished the afternoon with three errors and 12 men left on base.
The Hurricanes now own the second-longest winning streak in the country behind only the No. 1-ranked Tennessee Volunteers. Miami is the top overall team in the ACC and has now swept its last three series in a conference which boasts six ranked teams in the Top 25.
“It’s a great accomplishment, a sweep. Just have to stay grounded and keep working and know we have to keep improving and staying together as a team,” DiMare said. “The only poll that I care about is the last one.”
Miami will look to continue its historic stretch on Tuesday at home as it hosts the Florida Atlantic Owls (21-12). First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. and Jake Garland is the scheduled starter.