The Miami Hurricanes dropped to 10-3 (0-1 ACC) on the season with a hard-fought loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Friday. Before the game Miami honored Jim Morris, who coached at Georgia Tech before becoming the coach of the Hurricanes, by retiring his number before the game.
Evan McKendry struggled for the first time this season in this start, and Georgia Tech really started squaring the ball up in the top of the third. A throwing error from McKendry allowed the lead off man to reach, and an RBI single from Michael Guldberg made the score 1-0. Tristin English then followed with a two-run home run and the score was 3-0. McKendry didn’t have his breaking pitches all night and it made him really struggle to get outs.
Miami fought back in the bottom of the fourth. Freddy Zamora and Adrian Del Castillo started the inning off with back-to-back singles, and both were driven in by Alex Toral which made the score 3-2. Toral was thrown out trying to go to second on the play. Ray Gil then tied things up with a monster home run over the scoreboard in left field.
Unfortunately, McKendry’s struggles continued in the top of the fifth, when Tristin English hit his second home run of the night to make the score 4-3. However, Miami again fought back in the bottom of the seventh. Luis Tuero led off the inning with a double, and Dylan Cloonan drove him in with a double of his own. Unfortunately, Miami stranded Cloonan at second and the score held at 4-4.
Greg Veliz and JP Gates both worked out of jams in the seventh and eighth to give Miami a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Adrian Del Castillo was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, and Tony Jenkins pinch ran for him. Jenkins moved to second on a wild pitch, and then moved to third on a groundout to first. Unfortunately, neither Ray Gil nor Luis Tuero could drive Jenkins in and Miami missed a huge opportunity.
Daniel Federman pitched a fantastic top of the ninth, but Miami didn’t get anything going in the bottom of the frame and the game went to extra innings. In the top of the tenth inning Kyle McCann knocked a line-drive home run over the fence in right field to give the Yellow Jackets the lead. Miami tried to mount a rally in the bottom of the tenth, with Freddy Zamora and Alex Toral reaching base, but Ray Gil flew out five feet short of a home run to end the game.
Miami needs to win the next two games of this series. They played well tonight despite their ace struggling on the mound and having to score runs against one of the best pitchers in the ACC, Xzavion Curry. This loss is incredibly tough, but tomorrow and Sunday the depth of Miami’s starting rotation and lineup has to show. Game 1 was marked by a string of missed opportunities, and the Hurricanes need to avoid the same fate in Game 2. It will take some time for a young team to learn to handle high-pressure situations, and Gino DiMare needs to use Friday’s loss as a teaching point for how to handle close games later in the season.
Winning Pitcher: Johnathan Hughes (1-0, 3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K)
Losing Pitcher: Daniel Federman (0-1, 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K)
(Box Score posted when available)
Vs Georgia Tech Game 2
Date & Time: Saturday, March 9, 7:00 P.M. Eastern
Hurricanes Starter: Chris McMahon (1-0, 1.53 ERA)
Georgia Tech Starter: Connor Thomas (1-1, 3.08 ERA)
Radio: 790 The Ticket
Television: ACC Network Extra