What a difference a few days can make.

After playing the ugliest game of it’s season last Wednesday, the Miami Hurricanes found a way to hit ‘reset’ and showed up ready for the weekend when the 24th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers rolled into town.

Momentum has been hard to come by early this season. One step forward followed by two steps back has been the norm for this Jim Morris-led squad in 3′s final season at UM.

Two wins out the game opening weekend against Rutgers, followed by a blown lead and lackluster Sunday loss to the Scarlet Knights. Days later, Missouri rolled in and blanked Miami, 9-0.

Next up; the defending national champions. Miami hung with Florida the first two games of the series, but were outplayed late in both games and lost. Come Sunday, the Canes pulled out a scrappy shutout and hoped to build on it.

Instead, a one-run loss three days later at Florida Atlantic.

Maine rolled into town the following weekend and punked Miami in the opener, though the Canes scrapped back in extra innings on Saturday and dominated Sunday’s rubber match.

Three days later, Florida International topped the Canes in Coral Gables.

Miami took it to Notre Dame in early March; shutting out the Irish for 19 consecutive innings and winning the first two games convincingly. Unfortunately the Canes couldn’t close and got smacked four four runs in the tenth for an extra innings loss.

Again, Miami responded—this time with a mid-week road win at Central Florida—but followed up by dropping back-to-back games at Duke, before taking one on Sunday.

The latest stumble; a home loss against Florida Atlantic in epic fashion. Miami led 9-2 in the top of the sixth, yet managed to lose 11-9 after giving up six runs in the ninth and committing five errors on the day.

All of this led up to a Miami squad—sitting at 9-11 on the year—facing a gut-check moment against a quality ACC program. Virginia rolled in at 13-7 and riding a two-game win-streak, albeit not truly facing any quality competition a month into the season.

The banged-up Canes—injuries have already taken their toll this season—had home field advantage, not to mention a chip on their collective shoulder regarding late game stumbles and sloppy play that has defined the past few weeks.

The weekend sweep was Miami’s first over Virginia dating back to the 2008 season and fueled by a Hurricanes offense that finally came alive, as well as some clutch pitching.

Friday’s extra innings showdown was just the type of game Miami needed to get its groove back. The Hurricanes struck first with a run in the bottom of the fourth as Dylan Cloonan opened with a double down the left field line and advanced to third courtesy of a Hunter Tackett single.

Michael Perez went down swinging, but Michael Burns reached on a fielder’s choice as Cloonan scored and Tackett was out at second.

The Canes picked up another in the fifth after consecutive singles from Raymond Gil, Romy Gonzalez and Freddy Zamora—with Gil eventually scoring and Gonzalez reaching third on a wild pitch—but Miami’s rally ended abruptly when Cloonan grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Virginia tied things up with two in the seventh and both sides went quiet until the bottom of the ninth, when two-out singles from Isaac Quinones and Willy Escala had Miami with runners on second and third—but a Gil strikeout thwarted the close-out opportunity.

The Cavaliers made some noise in the top of the tenth, but Jeremy Cook held strong on the mound with a strikeout, a walk—which set up a fielder’s choice—and a fly-out. Miami proved equally as ineffective, stranding two after Tony Jenkins grounded into a double play.

Frankie Bartow closed out the eleventh—a three-up, three-down scenario that put the Hurricanes offense back on the field with a desire to answer.

Burns reached on a throwing error, Quinones singled to left, Escala singled to to third and Gil brought Burns home with a single to right. Game over, in convincing fashion. Solid pitching to shut down and opponent, with hitters coming alive when necessary. What a novel concept.

Pitching saved Miami on Saturday night as the Canes could only score one run on 10 hits. Evan McKendry lasted seven shutout innings, holding the Cavaliers to three hits and striking out 12 along the way—while Bartow pitched two innings in relief, striking out one and holding Virginia hit-less.

Daniel Lynch surrendered eight hits to the Hurricanes, but fanned 11 over seven innings. The only time Miami got over on him proper; the bottom for the second when Gonzalez roped a two-out triple to left field, driving in Quinones, before eventually being thrown out at home.

The Cavaliers threatened to tie things up in the top of the ninth after Bartow plunked a batter—who advanced to second on a wild pitch—but struck out the next up, ending the inning and game.

Up two games with the series in the bag, Sunday’s showdown took on extra importance as Miami needed to prove to itself it could close out a series. The Canes couldn’t do it against Notre Dame weeks back—and prior to that, Rutgers was the last time this season that Miami had won its opening two games of a weekend.

Andrew Cabezas took the mound, delivering a solid six-inning, three-hit, eight-strikeout performance that kept Virginia in check, while the Miami offense got up early, hung tough in the middle innings and closed strong.

Cabezas took down the first three batters he faced in the top of the first, while Tackett sparked a two-out rally with a single to right field in the bottom of the frame. Burns followed with a single to center that advanced Tackett to third and a Quinones double to left brought them both home.

Escala was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the second inning, and was quickly in scoring position after Gil laid down a sacrifice bunt. An error by the Cavaliers allowed Zamora to reach, while moving Escala to third.

Cloonan drew a 3-1 walk which loaded the bases and Tackett was hit by a pitch moments later, bringing home Escala for the unearned run. Burns popped out and Quinones reached on an error, advancing all runners and plating Zamora unearned—giving Miami a 4-0 lead after two.

Virginia threatened in the top of the fourth after opening with a single and Cabezas hitting the next batter. A fielder’s choice moved the runner to third, scoring him a batter later courtesy of a sac fly—but facing a 3-2 count with a runner on second base, retired the side.

Miami tacked on some insurance runs in the bottom of the eight when Quinones singled to left, but was thrown out as Jenkins reached on a fielder’s choice. Gonzalez struck immediately, sending the 1-1 pitch into right field for a triple that scored Jenkins.

Escala drew a walk, Gil doubled to left and advanced to third on the throw as Escala and Gil both scored. Zamora followed with a triple of his own, scoring Gil—pushing the Miami lead to, 8-1 before a fielder’s choice and strikeout ended the innings.

Virginia answered with a groundout, single, groundout and strikeout to end the game—a second straight outing where Miami didn’t need a final at-bat to close out a formidable foe.

The Canes collected nine hits on the day, held the Cavaliers to one run—and ending the outing error-less; a clean game Miami was in need of after falling apart last week against Florida Atlantic.

“It shows what type of team we are right now,” Cabezas told reporters after the game. “The tough, tough loss we had on Wednesday, and the fact that we came back and beat a very good Virginia team and swept them, it shows what type of team we are. We’re never going to let one bad game, one bad inning or one bad pitch affect us.”

Unfortunately for Miami’s psyche, it was more than a bad inning or pitch in Tuesday’s exhibition against the hometown Miami Marlins—as the big league squad smacked around the college boys to the tune of, 22-2.

The Marlins put up a six-run first inning and never looked back—though a trio of hometown kids were responsible for the Canes two runs; Perez with a single, followed by a triple from Escala—who scored on a sac-fly from Zamora.

The Hurricanes soaked up the experience and made it clear they’re putting the pinch-me moment behind them as Miami will be back in action on Wednesday night, traveling west to take on an improved Florida Golf Coast squad in Fort Meyers.

The Eagles are riding a five-game win-streak with a sweep of UMBC, a mid-week beating of FIU and a Sunday win over Rutgers after the Scarlet Knights took the first two a week ago.

First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. ET and WVUM 90.5 will have the broadcast.

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