University of Miami

Another dramatic win for UM baseball puts it closer to NCAA goal

Miami catcher Joe Gomez (40) celebrates with teammates after getting the game-winning hit against Georgia Tech during the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament in Louisville, Ky, Tues., May. 23, 2017. Miami won 6-5 in 13 innings.
Miami catcher Joe Gomez (40) celebrates with teammates after getting the game-winning hit against Georgia Tech during the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament in Louisville, Ky, Tues., May. 23, 2017. Miami won 6-5 in 13 innings. AP

The Hurricanes are still alive in their quest to make it to the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament.

Joe Gomez played the role of Hurricane hero Tuesday, lifting sixth-seeded Miami to a 6-5 walk-off win over 10th-seeded Georgia Tech in the bottom of the 13th inning of the opening ACC tournament game.

With senior Edgar Michelangeli on third after drawing a walk and senior Christopher Barr on first after a single up the middle, Gomez, another senior, sliced a Zac Ryan offering through the right side to send Miami (30-26) to a pivotal late-season win in front of 2,739 fans at Louisville Slugger Field.

“It feels great,’’ Gomez said of UM’s fifth consecutive victory that took 4 hours and 19 minutes to complete. “I just wanted to do what I can do to get a team win. Just anyway, anyhow, I wanted to get it done and I'm happy that I could do it for us.”

Gomez might not have had the chance if not for a tremendous relief outing from sophomore Andrew Cabezas and a career-first grand slam from junior Hunter Tackett.

Tackett hit his grand slam in the third to put UM up 5-4. Michael Burns hit UM’s first home run in the opening inning.

“He threw me three sliders in the count and I was kind of hoping he was going to try to sneak a fastball by me and I happened to guess right,” Tackett said of Georgia Tech pitcher Jake Lee. “I knew when I hit it, it had a chance to get out.”

The right-handed Cabezas entered in the seventh, walked the first batter he faced on four pitches, and then set down 17 Yellow Jackets (27-27) in a row, finishing with a career-long 6.1 innings of no-hit relief.

Cabezas (5-3) struck out 10 batters, allowed just two walks and threw 90 pitches to keep the game locked 5-5 through 13 innings and pick up UM’s second consecutive extra-innings victory.

Ryan (3-5) took the loss.

“Well, needless to say, it was a great win,’’ UM coach Jim Morris said. “I don't remember the last time that at Miami we've gone through 13 innings. Great effort by both bullpens. Good defense, and we're fortunate enough to get one more hit right there — big hit by Joe.”

The Hurricanes return to Louisville Slugger Field on Thursday for a 3 p.m. game against third-seeded Wake Forest, with the winner advancing to Saturday's semifinal round. The Demon Deacons play Georgia Tech Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The Yellow Jackets had their chances Tuesday. They loaded the bases off starter Evan McKendry in the fifth, but sophomore Frankie Bartow entered in relief and limited the damage to just one run on an RBI single from Chase Murray.

McKendry was tagged for six hits and five runs in 4-plus innings. He walked four and struck out four.

Bartow tossed two scoreless innings and allowed three hits.

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