The Hurricanes defeated the #23 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 10-8 at The Light on Friday to open ACC play.
The Hurricanes move to 5-8 (1-0 ACC) on the season.
Jesse Lepore started the top of the first fairly well, and in the bottom of the first the Hurricanes struck early. James Davison started out the inning with a triple, and an RBI groundout gave the Hurricanes an early lead, but the Canes’ weren’t done, Carl Chester reached first on a single, and then moved to third on an error on a pick-off attempt. Then a sac-fly scored Chester, making the game 2-0 heading to the top of the second.
Tech once again went relatively quietly in the top of the second, and the offense got going once again for Miami in the bottom half of the frame. Michael Burns had a nice plate appearance to lead off the Hurricanes with a walk, then a sac-bunt by Chris Barr was mishandled by GT and the Hurricanes had runners at the corners. After that the small-ball was executed perfectly by Edgar Michelangeli, as a safety-squeeze confused the catcher, and Michael Burns slid in safe at home. After that another sac-bunt, this time from Joe Gomez, gave the Hurricanes runners at second and third, and a passed ball scored another run. At the end of 2 Miami led 4-0.
Unfortunately in the top of the third Jesse Lepore’s struggles began, as a Joey Bart two-run homer to right-center made the game 4-2, but once again the Hurricanes would score two in the bottom of the inning. Carl Chester started the inning with a leadoff double, and Romy Gonzalez followed that up with a walk. Michael Burns then came up clutch with UM’s second triple of the game, and the Hurricanes took a 6-2 lead out of the inning.
Things got really ugly for Lepore in the top of the fifth, and Miami’s hard work momentarily appeared to be for nothing. Georgia Tech plated 5 runs in the frame. It all started with a walk and then a double, which gave Tech runners at second and third with one out. Joey Bart then continued his solid night by scoring the run from second on an RBI single. After that a ball was hit just out of Edgar Michelangeli’s reach at third and the Jackets scored another run. Lepore then hit GT’s next batter, and that gave Georgia Tech the bases loaded for Coleman Poje, who was already having a stellar night, having gone 2 for 2. Jim Morris then decided to remove Lepore early instead of having him face the hot batter in Poje, and he brought in freshman Albert Maury Jr. Unfortunately Maury couldn’t prevent any damage, and Poje hit a nice 2 RBI double to knot the game up at 6. After that a sac-fly gave the Jackets a 7-6 lead, and what looked like a promising night was in serious danger.
However the Hurricanes showed their mettle in the bottom of the fifth. An infield single from Chester led off the inning, and then UM’s third triple of the night by Romy Gonzalez quickly tied the game at 7-7. Barry Buchowski was then hit by a pitch which gave Miami runners at the corners with no outs. A nice RBI groundout was then hit by Michael Burns, and the Hurricanes reclaimed the lead at 8-7.
After that both relievers settled into the game for their respective teams, and no runs were scored until the bottom of the eighth.
The bottom of the eighth started with a nice walk by James Davison to give UM a nice chance of scoring a couple runs to cushion the lead. After that a perfectly executed hit-and-run put runners on the corners with the man of the night, Carl Chester, at the plate. Chester then put on a beautiful display of hitting, by placing a two RBI double into left, and the Hurricanes padded out their lead to 10-7. After that Miami loaded up the bases, but missed an opportunity for even more runs after Chris Barr hit into a shallow pop-fly.
Frankie Bartow was then called upon to close it out for the Hurricanes, and he struggled. Two bad-luck plays for the Hurricanes, a softly-hit ground ball down the third base line and a bloop single that dropped in between Johnny Ruiz and Carl Chester, gave Tech runners at first and second with no outs. Bartow then crossed up his own Catcher on a wild pitch and the runners moved to second and third with GT’s own hero Joey Bart at the plate. Bart was then walked, and the Jackets had the bases loaded with no outs, but a HUGE strikeout from Bartow gave him the first out of the inning. A sac-fly then scored the runner from third and made the game 10-8, and the worries continued after Bartow walked yet another batter. Fortunately Frankie got out of it with a lineout to James Davison, and Miami took the game 10-8.
It was great to see the bats get going for the Hurricanes. Miami appeared to have a great attitude before the game and all throughout, and the batters appeared to be seeing the ball better across the plate, as walks and getting ahead in the count was much more common for the Hurricanes tonight.
However the pitching staff, especially Lepore, struggled to get the ball down, all too often the pitch was left high, and if Miami continues to do that against a strong batting team like Georgia Tech, who had a .339 team average heading into tonight, the rest of the series may not have a nice result like the one tonight.
Winning Pitcher: Albert Maury (1-0, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 2.2 IP)
Losing Pitcher: Xzavion Curry (3-1, 7 H, 8 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, 4.0 IP)
Save: Frankie Bartow (3)
Tomorrow, March 11, 7:00 P.M Eastern
Hurricanes Starter: Jeb Bargfeldt (1-1)
Radio: WVUM 90.5
Television: ACC Network Extra