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No.18 Miami 4, Duke 3: Toral Hits Two Home Runs as ‘Canes Take Series Opener

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The Hurricanes used the long ball to get past the Blue Devils Thursday night.

Credit: Miami Athletics

Alex Toral mashed his 20th and 21st home runs of the year to help Miami get a Thursday night victory over the Duke Blue Devils. Toral’s two home runs helped him make a lot of history:

Duke took the lead twice in this game only to watch Miami come back twice. The Blue Devils scored on a double steal in the top of the second, but Alex Toral tied the game with his first home run of the evening in the bottom of the same frame.

After that the Blue Devils scored two unanswered runs, one in the fourth and one in the sixth, to lead 3-1 heading to the bottom of the sixth. Michael Rothenberg drove a home run over the fence in right to score the run in the fourth, and then hit an RBI single to drive in the Devils’ last run in the top of the sixth. Rothenberg either scored or drove in every single Duke run tonight, as he went two for three with the home run.

In the bottom of the sixth, Ben Gross, who had settled in since the bottom of the second, began to struggle. JP Gates drove a ball back through the middle for a single to start the inning, but was thrown out trying to go to second on a wild pitch, with Duke seemingly having dodged a bullet. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, they hadn’t, as Alex Toral and Michael Amditis drove back-to-back home runs to tie the game at 3 and end Gross’ night.

Daniel Federman came into the game for the seventh and eighth and erased the memory of his rough outing against Wake Forest last Monday. He worked two scoreless innings, didn’t allow a baserunner, and struck out five to give Miami a chance to take the lead in the bottom of the eighth.

The Hurricanes took advantage of the opportunity to win. With Bryce Jarvis in the game, who was supposed to start for Duke Saturday, Alex Toral led off the inning with a walk, and Willy Escala pinch ran for him to give Miami speed on the basepaths. Escala advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and with two outs Jordan Lala came to the plate. Lala pulled a chopper to first that looked like it’d be a routine groundout, but the ball went off the edge of the Duke first baseman’s glove for a single that let Escala score from second to give Miami the lead.

In the top of the ninth Greg Veliz came into the game. As usual, the flame-throwing junior worked a scoreless inning despite hitting the first batter he faced. With the win Miami moves to 37-16 (17-11 ACC) on the season. With just two games to play there’s still a lot left to be decided for seeding in the ACC Tournament, and the last two games of this series are two of the most important games of the year so far for the ‘Canes.

Game Info

Winning Pitcher: Daniel Federman (3-4, 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

Losing Pitcher: Bryce Jarvis (4-1, 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)

Save: Greg Veliz (9)

(Box score posted when available)

Next Game

Date & Time: Friday, May 17, 7:00 P.M. Eastern

Hurricanes Starter: Evan McKendry (6-1, 4.53 ERA)

Duke Starter: Bill Chillari (2-3, 5.09 ERA)

Radio: 790 The Ticket

Television: ACC Network Extra