The Miami Hurricanes suffered a complete collapse against the Florida Atlantic Owls on Wednesday, blowing a seven run lead through terrible pitching and a lack of defensive focus and skill. It was a very disappointing result for a team that felt it had turned a corner.
The Owls lept to an early 2-0 lead in the second after a disastrous effort in the field for Miami, which served as a prelude for what was to come. Daniel Federman walked two batters before an error in the field allowed two runs to score. The Hurricanes would respond in the bottom of the inning however, as Ray Gil launched his first career homerun to make the game 2-1 FAU after two.
In the bottom of the fourth Miami’s offense was very impressive. The Hurricanes first two batters of the inning reached, and a Freddy Zamora RBI single drove in both runners and gave Miami a 3-2 lead. The Hurricanes then loaded the bases, and a series of singles and walks pushed the lead out to 5-2. After that Michael Burns knocked in another two runs with an RBI double, and Isaac Quinones drove in the last run of the inning on a sacrifice fly, giving Miami an 8-2 lead heading to the top of the fifth.
The bottom of the fifth saw Miami add another run on a Ray Gil RBI single, and Miami appeared to be in complete control of the game. Federman was rolling, and the Hurricanes had every opportunity to seal it and completely shut down FAU. Unfortunately the pitching staff would begin to collapse. Federman allowed one run to let the score get to 9-3 before exiting after six innings of solid work. The freshman would be replaced by Michael Mediavilla, and that’s when the wheels started to fall off for the Hurricanes. Mediavilla allowed an immediate homerun to make the game 9-4, and a double followed by an RBI single made the game 9-5 Miami as we went to the bottom of the seventh.
Frankie Bartow replaced Mediavilla for the top of the eighth, and he put together the only good inning for any pitcher out of the bullpen for Miami. Retiring the Owls 1-2-3 to send us to the bottom of the eighth. After Miami was retired quickly, the Hurricanes entered the ninth inning with a four run lead, feeling confident about their chances to win the ball game, because frankly, you should never, ever, in any universe, lose a game where you lead by four with the other team down to its’ last three outs. Bartow gave up quick hit in the bottom of the ninth, and just like that he was pulled. It was a bizarre move to have him on such a short leash, but experienced righty Cooper Hammond came in to finish off the game. Instead Hammond let FAU load the bases, and a single and a sac-fly made the game 9-7, by then you could feel the game slipping away from Miami, and sure enough, Hammond allowed a grand slam that would give FAU an 11-9 lead.
In the bottom of the ninth the Hurricanes didn’t even put a man on base, and they went quietly and meekly. There was no passion, no effort. The Hurricanes consistently let errors happen in the field. They weren’t focused. Errors that shouldn’t have allowed runs turned into errors that allowed two. The Hurricanes looked frazzled in the field for the whole game, committing five errors by the end of the night. Meanwhile, the pitching staff had one of the worst collapses I’ve ever seen in baseball. It is also even more bizarre that the coaching staff would pull Frankie Bartow, who had been good in relief, after one hit, while allowing a struggling Cooper Hammond to stay in the game long enough to blow the lead. It was a collection of bad decisions and terrible play that led to an utterly embarrassing result.
Christy Chirinos mentioned that Jim Morris, Daniel Federman, and Michael Burns looked the most angry they had ever been in a presser. To be honest with you, it’s about time. I’m sick of the excuses of this season; “well there’s six freshman playing”, “Danny Reyes and Michael Amditis are injured”, and my personal favorite, “well it takes a lot of time for freshman to transition to the college game.” Yes, it does take freshman some time to transfer to college, in some aspects, but making a simple fielding play without bobbling the ball out of your hands is not a part of the game that needs transitioning to college. The Hurricanes suffer from a lack of fundamentals, and that is unacceptable for this program.
I really thought the Hurricanes had turned a corner after their game against Duke on Sunday, but now I’m not sure that they did. They still have that chance, but things need to change, and soon.
Winning Pitcher: Weston Clemente (1-0, 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K)
Losing Pitcher: Cooper Hammond (1-1, 1.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 1 K)
Save: Zach Schneider (7)
No.24 Virginia Cavaliers vs Miami Hurricanes
Date & Time: Friday, March 23, 7:00 PM
Hurricanes Starter: Jeb Bargfeldt (2-2, 3.09 ERA)
Virginia Starter: Derek Casey (2-2, 4.09 ERA)
Television: ACC Network Extra
Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM