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No. 7 Virginia baseball sweeps Miami in crucial midseason clash, boast best record in college baseball

No. 7 Virginia swept Miami for the first time since 2012, improving its conference record to 11-4 and a perfect 20-0 record at home

<p>Junior third basemen Jake Gelof tied the all-time Virginia home run record of 37 over the weekend.</p>

Junior third basemen Jake Gelof tied the all-time Virginia home run record of 37 over the weekend.

No. 7 Virginia baseball owns the nation’s longest home winning streak and are still undefeated at Disharoon Park after a three-game sweep of Miami. The Cavaliers (28-4, 11-4 ACC) started out hot last season as well, but the 2023 team has dominated the ACC at incredible levels with a .733 winning percentage in conference play factoring in this weekend’s wins over the Hurricanes (20-12, 8-7 ACC). The Cavaliers are playing dominant baseball with highlights aplenty heading into the second half of the season.

Game 1 – Virginia 14, Miami 2

The Cavaliers earned one of their best wins of the year, scoring at will on a rainy Friday evening. Sophomore outfielder Casey Saucke had his strongest game of the season —- he crushed two home runs for 4 RBI. Junior outfielder Ethan O’Donnell and junior infielder Jake Gelof joined Saucke with a home run and multiple RBI as well. 

Virginia left two runners on base without scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning, but would quickly put the game out of reach. Saucke launched his first home run of the day in the second inning — a solo shot to kick off a flood of Cavalier runs. O’Donnell joined his outfield partner with a towering three-run shot to right field — creating a 4-0 Virginia lead.

In the third inning, hits by sophomore infielder Anthony Stephan and sophomore utility player Ethan Anderson put the Cavaliers in prime scoring position with runners on first and third —- and just one out. A Miami fielding error resulting in a run and a batter hit by pitch allowed the scoring to continue, as Saucke and freshman outfielder Harrison Didawick got on base. 

Sophomore infielder Griff O’Ferrall tacked on two more runs to go up 7-0 after just three innings. Virginia would then nearly double their runs with a phenomenal sixth inning.

With two outs, Gelof drove Didawick home. Anderson brought in two more Cavaliers, and Saucke crushed his second home run, adding a trio of runs. Virginia held an incredible 13-0 lead after six innings. Miami got on the board with two runs across the seventh and eighth innings, but Gelof brought the home crowd to its feet with a home run in his last at-bat of the day.

In total, nine Cavaliers scored a run — but the performance of graduate student pitcher Brian Edgington stole the show. He gave up just one run in seven innings, striking out 10 Hurricanes. Edgington allowed Miami to get on base just five times in 21 at-bats. He is a perfect 6-0 on the season, with a 1.59 ERA that is top 10 nationally.

Game 2 – Virginia 6, Miami 5

After a comfortable victory in the series opener, the final two games would be exciting close contests. Graduate student pitcher Nick Parker returned to the mound after a brief injury absence and surrendered four runs in four innings. 

Both O’Ferrall and junior catcher Kyle Teel went 3-4 with a stolen base and no strikeouts. Gelof and freshman infielder Henry Godbout both earned multiple hits as well, including multiple RBI. 

The Cavaliers and the Hurricanes traded blows early, with each team scoring two early runs in the first inning. A Gelof triple in the third inning drove in O’Ferrall to put Virginia up 3-2, but two Miami runs in the fourth inning put the Cavaliers in a one-run deficit. 

Freshman reliever Evan Blanco entered the game in the fifth inning to get three quick outs — two of which were strikeouts where the Hurricanes were caught looking. Teel, Anderson and Saucke loaded the bases for Godbout who drove in a pair of runners with a double. 

Miami responded by stringing together three consecutive hits and tying the game. O’Ferrall began the Virginia counterattack with a single, and sprinted home courtesy of a Gelof double. Gelof would bring in the winning run, as neither team was able to score after the sixth inning.

The Virginia bullpen had a fantastic game, giving up just five hits in five innings. Graduate student reliever Angelo Tonas earned his third win of the season for giving up no hits or runs in one inning of play. Sophomore reliever Jay Woolfolk picked up his fourth save of the season, closing the door on any chance of a comeback with a scoreless ninth inning.

In a tight game, two Hurricane errors proved to be fatal against a Cavalier squad that gave up none. The Virginia offense has shown up when needed the most, as seen through a team batting average that is comfortably first in the conference. 

Game 3 – Virginia 6, Miami 3

Fresh off of a close game, the final game of the series would fare somewhat similarly. Freshman pitcher Jack O’Connor traded three quick outs with Miami to start the game, as neither team scored in the first two innings.

The Hurricanes fought for a 2-0 lead after three innings, but Virginia responded by scoring four in the bottom of the fourth inning. Gelof smacked his first home run of the day to tie the game, followed by a Teel walk and Anderson single —- Teel has now gotten on base in 32 consecutive games, first among all catchers nationally. Stephan then reached on a fielder’s choice to bring in Teel, and Godbout later drove in Stephan with an RBI single. The Cavaliers forced Miami to use three pitchers to complete the inning.

After going 6-13 with seven RBI in the first two games, Gelof crushed his 37th career home run in the series finale -— a two-run moonshot to tie the Virginia career record to a standing ovation from over 3,000 fans at Disharoon Park. Miami fought for one more run, but Blanco and freshman reliever Kevin Jaxel held the Hurricanes hitless.

The victory was especially impressive considering the Hurricanes had more hits than the Cavaliers, and Virginia gave up three errors to Miami’s none —- yet the Cavaliers won off of Gelof’s four RBIs from two home runs. Virginia’s offense usually wins through a barrage of hits, but this weekend the Cavaliers won through a season-high six home runs in the series.

O’Connor was efficient, earning a career-high nine strikeouts in six innings. Junior reliever Jake Berry earned his fourth save of the season by retiring three straight Hurricanes in the ninth inning to end a thrilling weekend of Virginia baseball.

With the series sweep, the Cavaliers are now an impressive 7-2 against ranked teams this season, and are looking to advance in the rankings with five upcoming games in the span of six days. The sweep is a resounding response to Virginia’s first series loss a week ago to rival Virginia Tech that dropped them from No. 5 to No. 7. Pairing their otherwise top notch record with continued success, the Cavaliers should find their way back into the top five with the postseason drawing near.

Up next, Virginia hosts Richmond Tuesday at 4 p.m. and Mount St. Mary’s Wednesday at 4 p.m. before Pittsburgh comes to Charlottesville for a weekend series. All games will be broadcast on ACC Network.