Saturday’s UM baseball game against Pittsburgh began with comedian Marlon Wayans throwing out the first pitch, saw pitcher Andrew Suarez flirt with a no-hitter, and ended with a walk-off infield single.
With runners on second and third and two outs in the bottom of the 10th in a scoreless tie, Willie Abreu hit a grounder to the right of the shortstop on an 0-2 pitch and beat out the throw to first with a head-first dive.
Abreu’s hustle allowed John Lawroski, pinch-running for Johnny Ruiz, who doubled earlier in the inning, to score the game-winning run in a 1-0 win at Alex Rodriguez Park.
"It was great that I was able to get my bat on the ball, not strike out, and then after that, I just let my speed take care of the rest," said Abreu, who finished 1-for-5 with the clutch RBI. "I hustled down the first-base line as fast as I could."
The No. 24 Hurricanes (24-12, 13-4 ACC) burst out of the dugout to mob Abreu and Lawroski in celebration. They extended their win streak to 11 games — the longest the team has had since the 2008 College World Series season.
"It’s one of those wild games," UM baseball coach Jim Morris said. "I’m jumping up and down at the end of the game because it’s just such an exciting game."
With FSU and Virginia both losing Saturday, the Canes are now in a three-way tie for the best record in the ACC.
Catcher Zack Collins tried to end it in the ninth when he put a home run swing on the first pitch he saw. It appeared like it was gone off the bat, but the fly ball to right died in the wind and was caught at the warning track.
The left-handed pitching Suarez kept hitters off balance to strike out nine in his nine shutout innings, giving up three hits and walking just one. He had a no-hitter going through 6 1/3.
"They have a lot of righties, so [pitching coach J.D. Arteaga] was telling me to make sure my changeup’s good," Suarez said. "It was on, and I had them off balance with that and just throwing my fastball."
Morris did not bring Suarez back out in the 10th inning, even though Suarez’s pitch count was at an economical 93.
It was the second time this season that Suarez (4-1, 2.66 ERA) went nine innings and came away with a no decision.
Cooper Hammond retired the side in order in the 10th to earn his fifth win in relief.
Suarez’s no-hitter was broken up with one out in the seventh inning when a high fly ball to the warning track off the bat of Pittsburgh No. 3 hitter Casey Roche ricocheted off left fielder Tyler Palmer’s glove as he hit the wall for a double. He struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning.
Senior Mike Gomez tallied his 22nd-career save, tying Jerry Santos for the second-most in school history. Cody Crouse tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings, striking out four batters. Junior Aramis Garcia went 1 for 2 with an RBI and senior Zach Sweety added an RBI triple in the ninth.