Hurricanes second baseman Anthony Vilar went 4-for-5 from the plate on Saturday to help guide Miami to its 20th victory of the 2021 season.
After Clemson (15-16, 9-11 Atlantic Coast Conference) took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third inning, the sophomore laced a one-out single up the middle to score shortstop Dominic Pitelli and even up the ball game.
Similar to a 12-run offensive attack the day prior — the team’s most runs scored in a conference matchup all season — Miami (20-11, 12-10 ACC) routed Clemson 10-2 at Mark Light Field for its fifth ACC series win.
“I’m just really happy with the way we’re playing right now, I mean the offense really did a good job,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “I think we scored in five out of the eight innings that we swung the bat, we scored twice after they scored, and we came back and answered. We had a couple of home runs, very good situational hitting. We had guys on second a number of times with nobody out where we got them over or even got them in.”
Starting pitcher Jordan Dubberly was relieved after four innings, having thrown 83 pitches. The St. John’s River State transfer allowed two earned runs while striking out six of the 17 batters he faced.
Allowing one hit and one walk, former starter Daniel Federman tossed one-and-one-thirds innings and garnered his fourth win. Junior Spencer Bodanza then finished off the sixth inning for the Canes, maintaining a 7-2 advantage.
A struggle for the majority of the season, Miami was able to knock 13 hits off of left-handed starter Keyshawn Askew (1-1), who relinquished five earned runs and nine hits through five frames.
“Tough lefty,” said DiMare on the nine strikeouts Askew registered, nonetheless. “We felt because it’s a funky arm action from the lefty they threw at us and we have a number of lefties in our lineup. So, I just thought we did a good job throughout the entire lineup just kind of battling, working through it, and getting to that guy because he’s pretty good. He’s got good numbers.”
Despite having struggled at Pittsburgh, reliever Anthony Arguelles stood as the last arm out of the bullpen for UM. Striking out one was the former graduate of Christopher Columbus High School, as Arguelles sat down three consecutive Tigers customers to conclude the night.
“Nobody really threw a lot there, in terms of the bullpen,” DiMare said. “Dubberly obviously won’t be going for us tomorrow, but the other guys we’ll have to look and see. Federman’s thrown quite a bit, so we’ll look and meet with [Miami pitching coach] J.D. [Arteaga] in the morning, but all the other guys we should be pretty fresh; we should have a lot of guys to go to in the bullpen tomorrow.”
After logging an RBI in the series opener on Friday, third baseman Yohandy Morales launched a two-run home run to right-center field, giving the Canes a 6-2 advantage in the middle innings.
“I feel like it made a big impact,” said Morales on his eighth home run of the season. “It’s always good leading a game, going into innings just being ahead. It’s not that we have to worry about being behind or anything, it’s just less stress on our backs to be ahead and keep scoring runs. Everybody’s playing calm and just relaxed.”
First baseman Alex Toral capped off Miami’s final burst of runs in the eighth with a two-out single to center field. Catcher Adrian Del Castillo scored for the team’s tenth of the contest.
“Everybody knows that hitting is contagious,” Vilar said. “Once we start hitting, everybody’s gonna continue to hit; it’s just how the game of baseball’s been going. We just gotta stay confident in ourselves, be ready to hit tomorrow, and it’ll be contagious as well and we’ll just continue to hit.”
Clemson grappled in converting with runners on base, having gone 0-for-14 while Miami was successful seven times out of 19 total opportunities.
The Canes remain prepared for a potential sweep over their opponent on Sunday, nonetheless.
“I think we’re just taking it one game at a time,” center fielder Christian Del Castillo said. “We can’t get ahead of ourselves but taking it one game at a time is what we’ve been doing and what we’re gonna keep doing.”
UM and Clemson will take the field at noon on Sunday for the series finale.