Mediavilla shines as UM takes finale at UNC, 6-2

Miami Hurricanes, Baseball
Cane Sport

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Junior lefthander Michael Mediavilla was his vintage self, Miami’s offense came through again, and the Hurricanes salvaged their series at No. 8 North Carolina with a 6-2 win in the finale at Boshamer Stadium.

A day after tying for the most hits compiled by a Tar Heels’ opponent all season, the Hurricanes scored a run in the first inning, added one in the fourth, and took a comfortable lead with a four-run sixth.

The six runs were the most allowed by North Carolina in any game this season.

That was more than enough for Mediavilla (3-3), who, after a shaky first inning, delivered his best start of the season to pick up a win for the third straight start.

A 2016 Rawlings All-American, Mediavilla returned to form with a season-long 6.1 innings. He struck out two, walked two and allowed two runs on six hits.

Both of the runs charged to the big lefty came after his departure in the seventh following a 97-pitch performance.

North Carolina starter Cole Aker (1-1) lasted just two batters before being removed in favor of Rodney Hutchison, Jr., in the game’s first inning.

The Tar Heels reliever nearly avoided any damage in the first after the two batters reached on Aker, but a throwing error by Heels catcher Cody Roberts on an attempted steal of third ended up in the go-ahead run.

Miami (11-13, 4-5 ACC) padded its lead to 2-0 in the fourth on the first career triple from freshman Greg Veliz, who cranked a Hutchison pitch to right-center to plate junior Brandon Gali, who singled in the previous at bat.

Facing one of the nation’s top-ranked pitching staffs, the visitors strung together four straight singles off Heels reliever Austin Bergner to take a 6-0 lead in the sixth.

Junior Carl Chester, sophomore Romy Gonzalez, junior Michael Burns and Gali all came up with basehits in the inning, with Burns’ single scoring Chester and Gali’s single to right scoring Gonzalez.

Freshman Nico Baldor added a sacrifice fly to center for the first RBI of his career and senior Joe Gomez executed a suicide squeeze play that scored Gali from third and was helped by an error from Heels first baseman Zack Gahagan.

While Aker departed after just a hit batsman and a walk, Mediavilla had his own share of troubles in the first inning. But after loading the bases on two walks and a leadoff single, the Hialeah native induced a pop-up from the Heels’ Tyler Lynn and a flyout to left from Gahagan to keep his team ahead early.

That was as threatening as the Heels offense would get Sunday.

Mediavilla retired the side in order in the second, and his only other jam came in the fifth, when back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt put two Heels runners in scoring position.

The laidback lefty buckled down to retire Brian Miller on a lineout and Logan Warmoth on a flyout, celebrating his escape act with an energetic fist pump in front of 1,110 fans. The sacrifice bunt began a streak of seven in a row retired by Mediavilla through the latter innings of his start.

Mediavilla departed with runners on the corners and one out in the seventh. North Carolina (18-6, 6-3 ACC) connected for a pair of RBI singles off reliever Andrew Cabezas, but the sophomore struck out Ashton McGee to end the inning and strand a pair.

Cabezas loaded the bases in the eighth with two outs, but sophomore closer Frankie Bartow entered in relief and induced a groundout to first to end the inning and maintain Miami’s late lead.

Bartow pitched a scoreless ninth inning to close out his sixth save of the season.

The Hurricanes next travel to FGCU for a midweek matchup with the No. 17-ranked Eagles. First pitch for Wednesday’s matchup, slated for broadcast on WVUM 90.5 FM, is set for 6:30 p.m. from Fort Myers, Fla.

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