Miami is 27-14 (11-10 ACC) after splitting a doubleheader against the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday. The Hurricanes were in the driver’s seat for a doubleheader sweep and a series win, but a series of bad plays and questionable decisions resulted in Miami losing the rubber match of the series.
The Hurricanes are unlikely to host an NCAA Regional now, unless they win the ACC Tournament or get on an incredible win streak to end the year. There are no marquee opponents left on the schedule for Miami, and the goal will be taking care of business against teams they should beat.
Game 1: No.23 Miami 16, No.8 Louisville 11
In a game that didn’t finish until 22 hours after first pitch, the Hurricanes prevailed to earn a win over the Cardinals. Louisville jumped out to an early lead on Friday night, when Logan Wyatt connected for a three-run home run to give UL the lead. Things got even worse for Miami when Evan McKendry left the game with “elbow tightness”. His loss, for any length of time, would be a difficult one to overcome for the Hurricanes.
Fortunately for Miami, Tyler Keysor worked a great relief appearance to keep Miami within reach, and the ‘Canes took advantage in the top of the sixth. In the inning Miami scored nine runs on just three hits as every single Louisville pitcher brought into the game struggled with control. The Hurricanes were content to take walks to score runs, and then Ray Gil blew the game open with a three-run double to make the score 10-3.
The game was stopped in the bottom of the sixth inning as rain, which had been falling off and on all night, began to intensify. The two teams agreed to restart the game the next day.
In the bottom of the seventh Mark Mixon struggled for the ‘Canes and allowed three runs to make the game 10-6. The Hurricanes responded by scoring six runs in the top of the eighth when Louisville again struggled to hit the strike zone. Two runs walked in before Alex Toral launched a grand slam over the wall in right field to make the game 16-6.
With the game effectively over Miami went to Albert Maury to wrap things up. He struggled on the mound and allowed five runs, but Miami held on to win 16-11.
Winning Pitcher: JP Gates (1-1, 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)
Losing Pitcher: Adam Elliott (2-2, 0.00 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB 0 K)
(Box Score posted when available)
Game 2: No.8 Louisville 9, No.23 Miami 6
Miami got off to a quick start in the final game of the series. In the top of the first, two walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases for JP Gates. The freshman launched a ball off the top of the wall in right to give Miami a 3-0 lead. Michael Amditis walked after the double, and Alex Toral connected for his 17th home run of the season to make the score 6-0. Toral is just six home runs short of Miami’s team total of 23 from last season on his own.
After the great top of the first, Miami began to struggle. Louisville scored in the bottom of the first off of a double and two groundouts, but things really fell apart in the bottom of the fourth. A double, three consecutive walks, and a hit by pitch scored two runs, and then another run scored on yet another bases loaded walk. All of this happened with Brian Van Belle still on the mound, and then he was sent back out to start the bottom of the fifth. He walked the first batter of the inning, but responded by forcing two quick groundouts that pushed the runner to third. At that point he was replaced by Daniel Federman, and before Federman could get out of the inning the runner from third stole home to make the game 6-5.
Louisville took the lead in the bottom of the sixth with a sac-fly and an RBI single. The Cardinals then extended the lead by one run in both the bottom of the seventh and the eighth to leave Miami’s bats, which had been ice cold since the top of the first, in need of runs in the top of the ninth. The Hurricanes couldn’t respond, and went down in order to end the game.
The Hurricanes may have lost their chance to host a Regional in the NCAA Tournament with this loss. Almost every wound in this game was self-inflicted, and it Miami had cut down on the walks, or taken Brian Van Belle out sooner, the story of the game and series could have been different. However, now Miami must reset and focus on playing well down the stretch to end the season. The Hurricanes could still have an outside chance at hosting if they take care of business in the ACC against a series of struggling conference opponents, and if they used that stretch to have a good performance in the ACC Tournament.
Winning Pitcher: Michael McAvene (2-0, 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K)
Losing Pitcher: Daniel Federman (1-3, 2.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)
Save: Michael Kirian (2)
(Box Score posted when available)
Mid-Week Vs FIU
Date & Time: Wednesday, April 24, 6:00 P.M. Eastern
Hurricanes Starter: Not announced
FIU Starter: Not announced
Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM / 990 ESPN Deportes
Television: ACC Network Extra