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No.15 UNC 8, Miami 5: Missed Opportunity

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Miami lost their first ACC series this season despite earning a Friday night victory.

Credit: Miami Athletics

The Miami Hurricanes dropped to 15-5, (3-3 ACC) after a Sunday afternoon loss to the North Carolina Tar Heels. The ‘Canes couldn’t capitalize off of a Friday night victory in this series, and struggled on both Saturday and Sunday.

Miami got off to a quick start, with both Jordan Lala and Freddy Zamora reaching before Adrian Del Castillo came to the plate. Del Castillo knocked a three run home-run to deep right field to give the Hurricanes an early lead.

The lead was short lived. UNC saw the ball really well out of Brian Van Belle’s hand and put up four runs in the bottom of the first. Dylan Harris led off the frame with a double, and Michael Busch drove him in with a double of his own. Busch advanced to third on a fly out and scored when Ray Gil tried to throw home on a chopper but not quick enough to get him out. With the runner who should’ve been out instead on first, Aaron Sabato hit a two-run home run that gave UNC a lead they would never relinquish.

The bottom of the second again saw UNC plate a run. After back-to-back strikeouts Dylan Harris launched a solo home run to right to make the score 5-3. the bottom of the third saw another two runs score, when Aaron Sabato hit his second two run home-run of the afternoon.

In the top of the sixth Ray Gil came through with a two-out double, and Dylan Cloonan drove him in with a clutch RBI single. In the top of the eighth Miami got another run closer when Freddy Zamora pulled a home run out to left to make the score 7-5.

Unfortunately, in the bottom of the eighth UNC loaded the bases with no one out and added another run to make the score 8-5. The Hurricanes didn’t get anything going in the bottom of the frame and dropped their second consecutive game and the series.

Despite the series loss Miami still was above .500 on the week at 3-2. While that’s a nice consolation, the Hurricanes have to stop dropping series after winning the Friday game against good opponents.

As far as this game specifically goes, it exposed an issue that has been an area of concern since the first weekend of the season; Brian Van Belle works too high in the strike zone at the beginning of starts. Gino DiMare mentioned it as an issue against Rutgers, and last week against Georgia Tech Van Belle gave up a two run home run in the top of the first. This week things got really out of hand in the first three innings. The problem is not exclusive to Van Belle, and Miami pitchers need to work on putting the ball farther down in the strike zone.

Miami’s time in the ACC doesn’t get any easier next week, as an N.C. State baseball team that won their first nineteen games in a row comes to Mark Light Field. It’s time for Miami to reset and refocus once again, even if this weekend is hard to forget.

Game Info

Winning Pitcher: Austin Bergner (2-0, 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K)

Losing Pitcher: Brian Van Belle (3-2, 3.0 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

Save: Austin Love (2)

(Box Score added when available)

Next Game

Vs Columbia Game 1

Date & Time: Tuesday, March 19, 6:00 P.M. Eastern

Hurricanes Starter: Not announced

Columbia Starter: Not announced

Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM

Television: ACC Network Extra