Friday, Miami came five feet short of a walk-off home run: Saturday, Freddy Zamora added on those five feet and more when he hit a two-run walk-off home run to push Miami to a 6-5 win over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets that made the Hurricanes 11-3 (1-1 ACC) on the season.
The game see-sawed back and forth before the events of the bottom of the ninth inning. The Hurricanes, behind a solid start from Chris McMahon, jumped out to an early 3-0 lead: Miami scored runs in the first, third, and fourth innings.
In the bottom of the first Freddy Zamora singled through the left side of the infield, and stole second, to give Adrian Del Castillo a chance to drive him in. Del Castillo did just that, driving an RBI single to make the game 1-0. The bottom of the third was led off by a Jordan Lala single, and with two outs Ray Gil stayed hot and knocked a single of his own to push the score out to 2-0. The third run of the afternoon for the Hurricanes was scored by way of a Michael Amditis solo home run in the bottom of the fourth.
Miami gave up their lead in the top of the sixth. Tristin English started the GT rally with a one out single up the middle. Kyle McCann followed with a double to the wall in left, and he was driven in by a double off the bat of Oscar Serratos, which spelled the end of Chris McMahon’s day. JP Gates came in to pitch and surrendered a fielder’s choice that scored the tying run before he could get out of the inning.
The struggles of Miami’s bullpen continued over the next few frames. In the top of the seventh Greg Veliz came into the game in relief and allowed a run off of a wild pitch with the bases loaded. Fortunately, Dylan Cloonan tied the game in the bottom of the frame with a monster shot to right-center field.
However, Tyler Keysor couldn’t escape a jam in the top of the eighth and allowed a run due to two consecutive hits in the form of a double followed by a single.
All of that set up the walk-off that ended an incredible evening. While Miami got the win, this game still revealed the unpredictability of Miami’s bullpen. The Hurricanes need to find bullpen arms that can consistently perform at the end of games. Miami needed a walk off to win today because their relievers couldn’t hold a lead, and later in the season that could cause the ‘Canes to lose important games.
A rubber match is set up for tomorrow and Miami will hope Brian Van Belle performs as well as he has over his first few starts in order to give the Hurricanes the best chance possible in a vitally important game.
Winning Pitcher: Tyler Keysor (2-0, 2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K)
Losing Pitcher: Keyton Gibson (1-2, 2.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)
(Box Score added when available)
Vs Georgia Tech Game 3
Date & Time: Sunday, March 10, 1:00 P.M. Eastern
Hurricanes Starter: Brian Van Belle (2-1, 1.06 ERA)
Georgia Tech Starter: Brant Hurter (0-1, 0.69 ERA)
Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM / 990 ESPN Deportes
Television: ACC Network Extra