“That was an ugly game,” is how Coach Gino DiMare described the proceedings at Mark Light Field Friday night. It was an accurate statement from the first-year Head Coach, as Miami played as bad as they have all season in a blowout loss to the Duke Blue Devils.
Miami ace Evan McKendry took the mound for the first time in almost a month and worked a solid three innings, but despite that, Duke scored twelve runs in a game that proved to be a nightmare for the Hurricanes bullpen. Seven pitchers appeared tonight for Miami, and only three of them didn’t allow a run. Each of the four pitchers who did allow a run, including McKendry, who was responsible for two runners that scored in the fourth inning, allowed multiple runs. “You need to be honest with these guys,” Coach DiMare explained, after telling reporters after the game that he told the team, “our middle of the bullpen has to get better.” The bullpen has improved since the start of the season, but there are still a lot of questions to be answered heading into the most important weeks of the season.
The Miami offense struggled too, getting just three runs on seven hits. Even the defense that had been so solid in the last several weeks showed cracks for the ‘Canes, as three errors in the game exacerbated the mistakes of an already struggling pitching staff.
For the Blue Devils, all but one starter had at least one hit on the evening. Chris Crabtree had the best night for Duke, going 3 for 5 with two doubles and three RBI. The visitors had eight walks and twelve hits, taking advantage of a Miami pitching staff that couldn’t seem to get an out at times.
On the bright side for Miami, Evan McKendry looked spectacular in three solid innings before things got away from him and the ‘Canes in the fourth. The Hurricanes will need him to be his best heading into postseason play in the coming weeks. Additionally, freshman Austin Pollak had his first hit as a Hurricane tonight. Also, during the game several of the team awards for the season were announced, unsurprisingly Adrian Del Castillo took home a lot of the hardware:
For Miami, despite Georgia Tech clinching the Coastal Division with a win over Pittsburgh and the ‘Canes loss tonight, tomorrow brings a crucial game with significant bearing on seeding for the ACC Tournament. A top four seed is still on the table if the Hurricanes win, and the ‘Canes have to come ready to play against a Duke team hungry to make a statement with a series win in hopes of securing their spot in the NCAA Tournament. Gino DiMare said that he ensured his team knew “tomorrow is not a day off”, and they’ll need to play their best, and forget tonight, in a crucial rubber match Saturday.
Winning Pitcher: Matt Dockman (5-1, 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K)
Losing Pitcher: Evan McKendry (6-2, 3.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K)
(Box score posted when available)
Date & Time: Saturday, May 18, 1:00 P.M. Eastern
Hurricanes Starter: Chris McMahon (2-2, 4.06 ERA)
Duke Starter: Not announced
Radio: 790 The Ticket / 990 ESPN Deportes
Television: ACC Network Extra