CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Javi Salas made history at Mark Light Field on Tuesday night, pitching just the 23rd perfect game in Division I baseball history since 1957 in No. 16 Miami's 17-0 shutout of visiting Villanova.
The senior righthander and team captain retired all 27 Wildcats batters he faced, needing just 113 pitches to get through perfection.
Salas became just the second Miami Hurricane to throw a perfect game and the first since Kevin Sheary on March 14, 1987. He struck out Villanova pinch hitter Derrick May Jr. for the final out of the game, sending his teammates into a frenzied celebration in front of the mound."I don't even know what to think," Salas said after the game. "In that last inning, I was trying to keep my adrenaline down. The fans were getting up, and I couldn't believe it. It's a dream come true."
Salas said it took some superstitious silent treatment from his teammates in the dugout after the sixth inning to realize the potential magnitude of his performance.
"I got back in the dugout and I was kind of isolated and no one was talking to me," he said. "That's when I realized what I had going. I had a couple of 3-1 counts there that I was hoping I didn't walk a guy. I had to keep my approach and stay aggressive going after these guys. Luck had it for me today."
Salas credited his team's performance in all three phases of the game as the recipe for success against the Wildcats (2-8).
"That's the only reason I showed up today -- to get our team back on track," Salas said. "I didn't care how it happened or what the score was, we really needed to win. I think it all came together tonight. We played great defense, we hit the ball, and we got a little luck with pitching."
Head coach Jim Morris was especially proud of his rising star, who turned down the chance at professional baseball after being drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 2013 MLB Draft.
Salas was elected team captain for the second consecutive year prior to 2014 -- his final season as a Hurricane.
"He's our captain, one of our hardest workers and a leader by example," Morris said. "He's a pre-law student. He's everything. He is a perfect student-athlete."
The Hurricanes (6-5) scored four runs during the game's first three innings in support of Salas, taking a 4-0 lead on a two-out, two-RBI single from freshman outfielder Willie Abreu in the bottom of the third.
Salas was in no need of the offensive fireworks that followed on Tuesday. He was in complete control throughout the game. He threw his 100th pitch of the night in the eighth inning, and struck out May Jr., swinging to end the ninth. Salas, a right-hander from Coral Gables, Fla., struck out six batters on the night, none more exciting than the final three-pitch rendition that sent the crowd of 2,435 into standing ovation.
He celebrated with his family after the game, and joined his younger brother Jorge, a student radio broadcaster for WVUM 90.5, in the radio booth for a postgame interview.
"I hope this gets us going," Salas said. "We start ACC play this weekend, so we really have to get on a roll here."