The Miami Hurricanes moved to 15-3 (3-1 ACC) with a win over the No.15 North Carolina Tar Heels Friday night. The game see-sawed back and forth, but the Hurricanes pushed across enough runs in the middle innings to earn a win against a talented conference opponent.
Gianluca Dalatri and Evan McKendry dueled back and forth over the first three frames. Neither allowed a run and the game looked set to be a pitcher’s duel until both teams got some offense going in the fourth. In the top of the frame Miami scored two runs. The rally started with two singles, and Ray Gil hit an RBI double to give Miami the lead: a sac-fly from Dylan Cloonan pushed the score to 2-0. In the bottom half of the inning UNC got their first run of the game off of an Aaron Sabato home run, after four the score was 2-1.
The Tar Heels tied things up in the bottom of the fifth. A throwing error let the lead off man reach, and a wild pitch moved him to second. A ground out pushed the runner to third, and an RBI single from Michael Busch scored UNC’s second run of the evening.
Miami really broke things open in the top of the sixth. Two consecutive singles from Ray GIl and Alex Toral knocked Dalatri out of the game. Dylan Cloonan knocked a bouncing ball that turned into an infield single off the new pitcher for UNC, Will Sandy, to load the bases. Michael Amditis hit an RBI fielder’s choice to give Miami the lead yet again, and at this point Sandy really began to struggle with control. Tony Jenkins walked to load the bases again, and a wild pitch scored another run for the Canes. Jordan Lala then walked to load the bases for the third time, and Anthony Vilar walked, which meant the runner scored from third. Freddy Zamora drove in Miami’s sixth run of the game with a sac-fly to left.
Evan McKendry took the mound in the bottom of the sixth hoping to shut UNC down, but he appeared to be out of rhythm and gave up two singles and a walk to load the bases with no outs. Two RBI fielder’s choices made the game 6-4, and JP Gates came into the game for Miami. He quickly ended the threat to keep the ‘Canes in control.
The last three frames of the game were similar to the first three. Both bullpens shut down the opposing team and the score held to give Miami its’ fifteenth win of the season. Greg Veliz and Daniel Federman both had great outings to secure the win, and they appear to have become Miami’s go-to relievers out of the bullpen. Additionally, it appears as if Dylan Cloonan has secured a spot starting in the outfield, he’s swung the bat really well as of late, and had a diving catch and stole a home run today in the field.
Miami now has two games to get one win to take a series over a Top 15 team in the nation. The Hurricanes need to take advantage of the opportunity and avoid the same let down that they had in Gainesville just a few weeks ago.
Winning Pitcher: Evan McKendry (4-0, 5.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 3 K)
Losing Pitcher: Gianluca Dalatri (1-1, 5.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 K)
Save: Daniel Federman (5)
At No.15 UNC Game 2
Date & Time: Saturday, March 16, 3:00 P.M. Eastern (Moved from 2:00 P.M.)
Hurricanes Starter: Chris McMahon (1-0, 2.35 ERA)
Tar Heels Starter: Tyler Baum (3-1, 3.92 ERA)
Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM
Television: ACC Network Extra