Miami found a way to win on Friday night despite a slew of injuries over the last two weeks that saw freshman Slade Cecconi get the start for the Hurricanes as they opened their series against the Virginia Tech Hokies. With the win Miami is 29-14 (12-10 ACC) on the season and moved one step closer to the UNC Tar Heels in the Coastal Division race after they lost 12-5 to Virginia in their Friday night game.
This game in Coral Gables was a close one. Virginia Tech took the lead in the top of the second inning, taking advantage of Slade Cecconi’s control issues by scoring their runs on three singles, a walk, and a hit by pitch. Cecconi didn’t necessarily miss the zone in this inning, but he struggled to locate pitches within the strike zone, and as a result the Hokies’ hitters hit line drives all over the field. Cecconi settled in afterwards though, eventually working five innings and allowing just the two earned runs.
The Hurricanes tied things up in the bottom of the third. Tony Jenkins walked to lead off the inning, and was driven in by Willy Escala, who has played well over the last two games after entering the lineup for an injured Freddy Zamora. Escala then moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sac fly from Adrian Del Castillo.
In the sixth inning Virginia Tech got a critical late lead. Miami had to use three pitchers in the frame to avoid allowing more than one run after the bases were loaded. JP Gates came through in the most critical spot on the mound in this game for the Hurricanes, striking out Luke Horanski looking to keep the ‘Canes within one run.
The Hurricanes waited until the bottom of the eighth inning to mount a rally. With Virginia Tech starter Ian Seymour still in the game, two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Gabe Rivera. The sophomore responded by lining a two run single into center on Seymour’s 128th pitch of the game to make the score 4-3 in favor of the Hurricanes. Earlier in the game, after Rivera replaced JP Gates in the DH spot, Virginia Tech argued that Rivera should not be allowed to hit, and instead Miami’s pitchers must bat. If that review, which turned into a 15 minute long discussion among the umpires, had not gone Miami’s way, Rivera is not in that spot in the order to hit the go-ahead single, and Miami almost certainly loses the game.
As Ian Seymour was visibly frustrated and distraught in the dugout Greg Veliz took the mound to close out the game for the Hurricanes. He slammed the door shut, striking out two Hokies and not allowing a baserunner in the top of the ninth.
The Hurricanes won this game by the skin of their teeth, and used their best two bullpen pitchers in Daniel Federman and Greg Veliz to do so. Miami will need good starting pitching performances and better offense to have more success throughout the weekend, because the ‘Canes simply don’t have the pitching depth to have another night where they use six pitchers.
Winning Pitcher: Daniel Federman (2-3, 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K)
Losing Pitcher: Ian Seymour (4-4, 7.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 11 K)
Save: Greg Veliz (6)
Vs Virginia Tech Game 2
Date & Time: Saturday, April 27, 7:00 P.M. Eastern
Hurricanes Starter: Brian Van Belle (5-2, 3.83 ERA)
Virginia Tech Starter: Chris Gerard (6-6, 4.38 ERA)
Radio: 790 The Ticket
Television: ACC Network Extra