Javi Salas has had plenty of memorable moments on the mound, but nothing like this. Not until now.
The senior righty put together the game of his life Tuesday retiring all 27 batters he faced and recording the second perfect game in Miami history as the 16th-ranked Hurricanes routed visiting Villanova 17-0 at Alex Rodriguez Park.
“It was surreal going into that last inning,” said Salas, who threw 113 pitches, 76 of which were strikes. “It’s a blur right now. I’ve never had a perfect game or a no-hitter at any level. But we hit the ball well and my teammates had my back the entire game.”
The Hurricanes, who were looking to bounce back after losing 2 of 3 to the second-ranked Seminoles in Tallahassee over the weekend, gave Salas plenty of run support. Miami (6-5) belted out 12 hits and scored in every inning but the first. Brad Fieger had a pair of hits, including a two-run homer to left, while David Thompson and Willie Abreu combined for four hits and five RBI.
Salas also got help from his defense, including Sebastian Diaz who made a diving catch on Donovan May’s liner to left field in the eighth inning.
“As soon as I threw the pitch, I knew he put a good swing on it. I thought for sure it was going to be a double down the line,” Salas said. “And then Sebastian made that diving catch. There’s always those kinds of plays in no-hitters and perfect games and you know something special is happening. This couldn’t happen to a better group of guys. We needed a win no matter how we got it and I’m happy to be a part of this and happy to be a part of this team.”
Salas’ perfect game was the first for Miami since Kevin Sheary’s history-making performance against Southern Illinois on March 14, 1987.
The Hurricanes will face Villanova (2-8) again Wednesday night before opening ACC play against Boston College on Friday.