PITTSBURGH – The Miami Hurricanes jumped out to an early lead and held on to capture their second straight series Saturday afternoon, taking the rubber match against Pittsburgh, 5-3, at Charles L. Cost Field.
Boosted by another impressive start from junior lefthander Michael Mediavilla, Miami rebounded from a 10-3 loss in the opener Friday afternoon to win the final two games and earn their third ACC series win of the season.
"It was a big win for us, no question," head coach Jim Morris said. "I think Pitt has the best club they've had since we've been playing them in the ACC. They have a good club and really good pitching."
Redshirt senior Edgar Michelangeli provided some late insurance with a two-run home run - his second blast of the series - in the eighth inning to widen Miami’s lead.
Mediavilla (4-4) delivered an efficient start for the visitors, tossing 5.2 innings on four days’ rest. The Hialeah, Fla., native, who started Monday’s series finale against Duke earlier in the week, surrendered just five hits and one run with four strikeouts.
Miami’s bullpen once again came up clutch, with sophomore Frankie Bartow tossing the final two innings for his second save in as many days.
"I'm very proud of the way our guys bounced back," Morris said. "We got some big hits and our pitchers pitched well after that first game. It was a great series for us."
The Panthers made things interesting in the ninth, cutting the Miami lead to two runs on a sacrifice fly. But Miami’s infield turned a game-ending double play behind Bartow to seal the win.
The Hurricanes (17-19, 9-9 ACC) opened the scoring with a pair of runs in the game’s first inning off Pitt starter Josh Falk.
Miami connected for four singles in the inning, with RBI basehits coming from sophomore Romy Gonzalez and freshman Nico Baldor.
Senior Randy Batista opened the game with a single to left to reach base for the 15th straight game.
Falk (3-4) settled down the rest of the way, and would go on to toss six innings. He allowed just one hit after the first - a double from junior James Davison - and struck out four batters.
The visitors missed a chance to pad their lead in the fifth. Miami loaded the bases on walks from Michelangeli and junior Carl Chester sandwiched around a double off the wall in left by Davison, but Falk struck out Gonzalez to hold the deficit at 2-0.
Pittsburgh (15-17, 7-11 ACC) got a run back in the fifth on an RBI single from Jacob Wright off Mediavilla. But with two runners on, the laidback lefty buckled down, retiring three-hole hitter Nick Banman on a foulout to keep his team ahead by a run.
Sophomore Andrew Cabezas entered in relief of Mediavilla with a runner on third base and two outs in the sixth. After falling behind 3-0 in the count, Cabezas struck out Alex Amos to maintain the 2-1 lead.
An RBI single in the seventh from Chester scored Batista from second to push Miami’s lead to 3-1, but Pitt responded in the home half of the inning on an RBI single from Caleb Parry off Cabezas.
With runners on the corners and one out, the fiery righthander held the lead by retiring the last two batters of the inning on fielder’s choice groundouts.
Michelangeli, who led Miami with a .417 average over the weekend, came up with the knockout blow: a two-run home run off reliever Isaac Matson in the eighth over the wall in left.
"Last night, his home run was the game-winning hit," Morris said. "He hit both home runs this weekend really well. It's great for him. We need him hitting. He did that last year and we're seeing him come back now."
The Miami Hurricanes return home for a midweek matchup against FAU on Wed., April 19 before a rivalry series with visiting Florida State from April 21-23. First pitch for Wednesday’s matchup, slated for broadcast on ACC Network Extra and WVUM 90.5 FM, is set for 6 p.m.