Behind a season-high in runs scored and eight strong innings from starting pitcher Chris Diaz, the UM baseball team won the first of a three-game set against No. 24 Virginia Tech 11-9 on Friday night at Alex Rodriguez Park after a 23-minute rain delay for the first pitch.
Diaz (3-1) rebounded after giving up two runs in the first inning to shut out the Hokies from that point on. His eight innings pitched were a career long, and he gave up the two earned runs off seven hits and struck out a career-high six.
He didn’t walk a batter and earned the win.
Diaz had a stretch of nine consecutive batters retired from the fifth to the eighth inning and also had a streak of seven consecutive retired earlier in the game.
He struck out four in a row at one point during his streak of nine, which included striking out the side in the seventh.
The Hurricanes (18-7, 3-4 ACC), who are yet to win a series against a conference opponent, have now won three in a row after dropping two of three to No. 1 North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
What should’ve been an easy win almost went completely awry in the ninth inning after Diaz made his exit.
Leading 11-2, the Hurricanes gave up seven runs in the ninth and needed four pitchers to record the final three outs.
Reliever Eric Nedeljkovic got Virginia Tech’s Andrew Rash to strike out looking for the final out and the save.
A four-run third inning gave the Canes a 5-2 lead. Right fielder Chantz Mack tripled down the right field line to drive home two, and Michael Broad and David Thompson had two-out RBI singles to extend the rally.
Mack finished 1 for 2 but reached base four out of the five times he came up to the plate.
Thompson would later drive in two more in a three-run seventh with a two-out, bases loaded single up the middle. He finished 2 for 4 with three RBI.
Freshman outfielder Ricky Eusebio had a career-high three RBI.
Junior left-hander Bryan Radziewski will make his first weekend start of the season coming off shoulder surgery Saturday for game two of the series at 7 p.m.