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The No. 25 Virginia Cavaliers used a five-run sixth inning to power their way past the No. 18 Miami Hurricanes 7-3 in Saturday's series opener at Alex Rodriguez Park.
The Hurricanes (27-15, 12-10 ACC), who committed three costly errors in the frame, took their first lead of the game in the previous half-inning on a sacrifice fly from Michael Broad. But the Cavaliers responded with a big sixth inning where they sent 11 batters to the plate, and the team's defense failed to provide starter Eric Erickson (6-5) with support in the field.
After a 42-minute rain delay before the start of the third inning, the Cavaliers (29-14-1, 12-10 ACC) tagged Erickson for the game's first run once play resumed. After allowing two early baserunners in the frame on a single and walk, the veteran southpaw nearly got out of the inning unharmed after getting back-to-back outs. But Derek Fisher's two-out RBI single, which ricocheted off Erickson towards first base for an infield hit, would give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead.
The Hurricanes, down 2-0 entering the bottom of the fourth, scored two runs of their own in the next half-inning to tie the game up. Dale Carey's RBI down the left field line, which plated sophomore Brad Fieger, cut the early deficit to 2-1. The Marietta, Ga. native then scored on Branden Kline's wild pitch two batters later, knotting the game up at 2-2.
Miami took its first lead of the day in the next inning, as Broad's sacrifice fly off Kline (6-3) plated Chantz Mack to give the Hurricanes a 3-2 advantage. The Cavaliers responded with five runs in the next inning, however, all of which were unearned. Shortstop Stephen Perez, outfielder Rony Rodriguez and Erickson each committed errors in the decisive inning.
Kyle Crockett pitched well in relief of Kline, who was pulled after five innings of owrk. The sophomore lefthander allowed only one hit in 3.1 innings of relief, striking out four batters along the way. Reliever Justin Thompson recorded the final two outs of the inning on back-to-back strikeouts, sending the Cavaliers to their third straight conference victory.
The Hurricanes return to action on Sunday night at 7 p.m., with the game set for a live television broadcast on Comcast/CSS and simulcast on ESPN3.