The No. 3 Virginia baseball team lost its series opener, 7-1, to No. 25 Miami Saturday evening in Coral Gables, Fla. The Cavaliers (17-4, 5-2 ACC) received another quality start from Nathan Kirby, but he was outdueled by Chris Diaz, who pitched 7 1/3 innings of one-run baseball for Miami.
Kirby (5-1) worked a career-high 6 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs, five hits and two walks while fanning four in taking his first loss of 2014. It marked his sixth straight quality start this season.
Nick Howard drove in the Cavaliers’ lone run as UVa was limited to five hits. Zack Collins hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning for Miami to break a 1-1 deadlock and send the Hurricanes on their way to the Game 1 win.
After Diaz and Kirby matched zeroes on the scoreboard for five innings, Virginia broke the stalemate in the sixth inning, parlaying a leadoff Kenny Towns single into a run on a two-out Howard RBI single.
Miami came right back to score three runs in its half of the sixth. UVa put runners on first and second with one out in the eighth to knock Diaz from the game. Howard then launched a drive to right-center against Garcia, but center fielder Dale Carey made a fantastic diving catch on the track to rob Howard of extra bases and UVa of a pair of runs. UVa loaded the bases but Garcia got pinch hitter Matt Thaiss to pop out to left field to end threat.
Miami loaded the bases with none out in the eighth and went on to score four times to blow the game open. A Whit Mayberry bases-loaded walk to Johnny Ruiz started the scoring, and Brandon Lopez followed with a two-run double off Austin Young. Garrett Kennedy drove in the final run with a sac fly to center.