Miami moved to 7-2 on the season with a win over the UMBC Retrievers in the first game of a three-game series. The Hurricanes played very sloppily defensively in this game, especially early on, but nevertheless recovered and cruised to the victory.
The top of the first got off to a rocky start for Miami’s defense. An infield single started the inning, but the second batter knocked a textbook double play ball to Anthony Vilar. Vilar didn’t field the ball correctly however, and UMBC had runners on first and second with no outs. Evan McKendry got a strikeout for the first out in the inning, and then a groundout for the second out. Unfortunately, the ball was too weakly hit to complete a double play and there were runners on the corners with two outs. Another error, this time from Freddy Zamora, allowed the runner from third to score and Miami trailed by one after the first inning.
However, UMBC’s lead wouldn’t last. Jordan Lala led off the bottom of the frame with a walk, and Anthony Vilar followed by reaching on an error, with Lala moving to third on the play. Freddy Zamora followed with an RBI double to the left field corner that tied the game at one and gave Miami two men in scoring position with no outs. Adrian Del Castillo continued his success at the plate with a bloop single that scored Vilar from third, and Alex Toral followed him with an RBI single through the right side of the infield. After Ray Gil struck out, Luis Tuero knocked an RBI double to score Miami’s last run of the inning, which made the score 4-1.
McKendry started the second with a strike out. However, another infield single gave UMBC a runner, and a walk gave UMBC two men on. The defense then let McKendry down again when Luis Tuero misplayed a foul ball, fortunately Miami got a force out at second on the play when the runner at first was caught off guard by the dropped fly ball. Another infield single made the game 4-2, but McKendry prevented any further damage by getting a strikeout to end the inning. Miami’s defense cost them two runs in two innings where they committed three errors. Mistakes like those could, and would, cost Miami in the future. The Hurricanes’ fielding has to get better before ACC play. In baseball you can not afford to hand the other team runs, no matter who you are playing.
In the bottom of the second Miami added on to their lead. Tony Jenkins walked to start the inning, and then stole second. Jordan Lala flew to deep center which allowed Jenkins to move to third, and Anthony Vilar drove him in with an RBI single up the middle.
From the top of the third till the end of his outing Evan McKendry absolutely dominated with improved defense behind him. When McKendry’s night was done he allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out eight batters over six innings. McKendry has now started his season with three consecutive wins.
In the bottom of the third Miami pushed out the lead with another run. With two outs Luis Tuero doubled after the center fielder failed to make a tough play. A Michael Amditis two-out RBI single scored Tuero to make the game 6-2.
After that both pitching staffs settled in and neither team scored until the bottom of the seventh inning. Freddy Zamora led off with a walk, and two consecutive groundouts moved him to third base. Zamora then scored on a wild pitch to make the lead 7-2. It was a perfect example of the value of getting the lead off man on, and Zamora did a great job of baserunning to manufacture that run.
After Evan McKendry left the game Tyler Keysor and JP Gates both pitched great innings for the Hurricanes: Keysor pitched the top of the seventh, while Gates pitched the top of the eighth. It was especially nice to see both of them pitch well after each had a rough inning their last time out. The Hurricanes will need them to improve to help out a bullpen that has struggled to start the season.
In the bottom of the eighth Miami added another run. Chad Crosbie, who replaced Luis Tuero defensively, led off the inning with a single. He then stole second, and after Michael Amditis struck out Tony Jenkins hit a deep fly ball that moved Crosbie to third. Jordan Lala then knocked an RBI single to left that scored Crosbie and made the game 8-2.
In the top of the ninth Albert Maury, Jr. came into the mound for the first time in nearly two years after missing last season with a UCL injury that required Tommy John surgery. He immediately forced a groundout, and then got his first strikeout for the second out of the inning. Another strikeout finished off the win for Miami in a special moment for Maury.
The Hurricanes will take the field at 7 P.M. Saturday for the second game of this three-game set; hoping to play a much less sloppy game as compared to the one they played today. Four errors in a game, and thirteen through nine games played, is unacceptable. Miami needs to be more focused and more energetic tomorrow.
Winning Pitcher: Evan McKendry (3-0, 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K)
Losing Pitcher: Frank Fraschetti (0-1, 5.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K)
Vs UMBC Game 2
Date & Time: Saturday, March 2, 7:00 P.M. Eastern
Hurricanes Starter: Chris McMahon (1-0, 2.31 ERA)
UMBC Starter: Aaron Husson (0-1, 9.00 ERA)
Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM
Television: ACC Network Extra