DURHAM, N.C.—Virginia began playing Miami at 11:07 a.m. Friday. It wouldn’t walk off the field after the last out in a 6-4 victory until just after 10:30 p.m. In between the Cavaliers endured a seven-hour, 28-minute rain delay and an early two-run home run by Hurricanes left fielder Rony Rodriguez.
But when the game finally ended, Virginia controlled its destiny in the ACC tournament, while Miami would need help if it wanted to play for the ACC title.
The game began with storm clouds above Durham Bulls Athletic Park, and it didn’t take long before the rain began to fall. The game was halted in the bottom of the second inning with the Hurricanes leading 2-0. The rain only increased after the delay began and after about two hours the teams returned to their hotels and hoped for a 6 p.m. restart that was later pushed back to 7 p.m.
“We’ve had a lot of problems this year with the rain,” Virginia coach Brian O’Connor said. “We have dealt with a lot of things, a lot of doubleheaders, and they have come through all the time.”
O’Connor surprisingly sent starter Will Roberts back to the mound. He said he thought about taking him out, but after a meeting with Roberts at the hotel, changed his mind. After finishing a walk of Miami catcher Shane Rowland that had started almost eight hours prior, Roberts settled into a groove, allowing Virginia to get back into the game.
“Will Roberts throwing an inning at 11 a.m. and then coming back and pitching us into the sixth inning was really something you rarely see,” O’Connor said. “The fact he was able to do it and keep us in the game was pretty amazing.”
A sacrifice fly by Steven Proscia cut the Miami lead in half in the third inning, and Virginia would take the lead in the sixth on RBIs from DH Danny Hultzen and second baseman Keith Werman.
Miami tied the game in the bottom of the sixth with an assist from the weather. The skies once again opened up and Cavaliers left fielder John Barr lost a fly ball off the bat of Harold Martinez, which he turned into a leadoff triple. After the play, the umpires called for the tarp, but as soon as the players had left the field, the rain stopped. The game’s second rain delay last just six minutes.
Martinez scored to tie the game, but Virginia removed all doubt in the seventh. The Caviliers loaded the bases with no outs for center fielder Kenny Swab, who delivered the biggest hit of the night. Swab hit a bases-clearing double to the warning track in right field.
“I was trying to get the job done for my team,” Swab said. “I just wanted to lift the ball to score the run and move the guy from second to third and get another guy in tagging position.”
He finished the night 4-for-5 with four RBIs and a pair of doubles.
Righthanders Justin Thompson and Brandon Kline held on for the victory, and Kline picked up his 16th save of the year.
The rain throughout the day ruined the tournament schedule. The game between Florida State and Georgia Tech scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, was pushed back until 9 a.m. Saturday. The last game of the day between North Carolina and Wake Forest didn’t begin until 12:10 after a rain delay of its own. UNC starter had a no-hitter going through six inning when play was suspended by more rain until Saturday, with the Tar Heels leading 5-0.