The Virginia baseball team couldn’t catch a break this weekend against Miami.
Rain on Friday afternoon pushed the series opener to Saturday, when the teams played a doubleheader. The Hurricanes won both games.
Then, entering Sunday’s series finale, expected starting pitcher Mike Vasil was scratched due to a violation of team rules. Brendan Rivoli and Devin Ortiz also were benched for violations of team rules.
In Vasil’s stead, Coach Brian O’Connor used six pitchers. It wasn’t a recipe for success. The Hurricanes beat the Cavaliers, 3-1, to earn the series sweep at Disharoon Park.
“I’m not going to sit up here and point fingers at one individual group,” O’Connor said. “Just, collectively, we’ve got to be a little bit better, and a little bit more competitive. Right now I don’t think our competitive spirit is where it needs to be. And I take full responsibility for that.”
O’Connor did not specify which team rules Vasil, Rivoli and Ortiz violated, noting he anticipated the three would return to the field “soon.”
“It was unfortunate that they were not able to compete for us today,” O’Connor said.
Virginia (21-16, 8-10 ACC) scored its only run in the seventh inning, when second baseman Nic Kent tripled home left fielder Cayman Richardson with two outs. But the next hitter, third baseman Zack Gelof, grounded out to second to end the inning.
Left-hander Andrew Abbott started the game for the Cavaliers and pitched one scoreless inning. Right-hander Evan Sperling did the same in the second.
But in the fourth, right-hander Zach Messinger surrendered a solo homer to the Hurricanes’ JP Gates, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the second inning. Miami scored again in the sixth on a two-run home run from catcher Michael Amditis.
Virginia had some late life. After a quick rain delay, the Cavaliers escaped trouble in the top of the ninth when first baseman Nate Eikhoff leapt and caught a hard-hit ball to strand two runners on base. Right fielder Alex Tappen led of the bottom of the ninth inning with a single but the Cavaliers not could not score him.
“We just couldn’t [get] another couple more clutch hits,” O’Connor said.
“Just comes down to being clutch in the moment, and guys stepping up,” said Gelof, who went 2-for-4. “We’re all pointing fingers, or whatever, but if you just put it to yourself, and move forward, just get better from this.”
Virginia returns to the diamond Tuesday evening, when Radford comes to Charlottesville.