Despite holding a 5-3 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning Friday afternoon the Miami Hurricanes could not hold on and beat the Pittsburgh Panthers in the opening game of their weekend series. Miami’s record dropped to 17-9 (10-8 ACC) with the loss.
Pittsburgh took an early lead against the Hurricanes in the bottom of the first inning. Sky Duff led off the game with a double and moved to third on a double play before scoring on an infield single.
Miami tied the game up in the top of the fourth. Christian Del Castillo singled before advancing to third on another single from Alex Toral. Ray Gil then drove in Del Castillo to make the score 1-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth.
Hurricanes starter Jake Garland, who started in place of Alejandro Rosario, settled in after allowing the run until Pitt rallied again in the fourth. Two runners reached on a single and a walk before a two-RBI double from Bryce Hulett made the score 3-1 and forced Garland out of the game.
Miami responded in the fifth and sixth innings. The fifth inning saw Anthony Vilar drive in Gabe Rivera with an RBI-single before a three-run sixth inning gave the Hurricanes the lead. A double and an intentional walk put two runners on for Ray Gil. Gil then put Miami ahead with a three-run homerun to left field.
The Hurricanes bullpen began to struggle after taking the lead. A hit-by-pitch and two singles loaded the bases for Pitt in the bottom of the sixth. Another infield single scored a run and kept the bases loaded before Sky Duff hit a grand slam to put Pittsburgh up 8-5.
Pitt extended the lead in the seventh and eighth innings. A two-run homerun from Ramon Padilla scored two runs for the Panthers in the seventh before two RBI-singles added another two runs for Pitt in the eighth.
Ray Gil hit his second homerun of the game in the top of the eighth but it was too little, too late for a Miami team that is still trying to find consistency when they play other teams in the Top 25. The Hurricanes had a strong chance to win the opening game of the series, but a few too many mistakes cost Miami the lead and the game. More worryingly for Miami, Alejandro Rosario was seemingly scratched after being scheduled to start today as he returns from an injury.
Saturday, the Hurricanes will look to even up the series with Victor Mederos on the mound. The rest of the end of April is vitally important for Miami, who sits on the bubble to host a regional in this year’s NCAA Tournament. The selection committee will announce regional sites early this season due to coronavirus, with the hosts scheduled to be announced the week of May 10.
BREAKING: The @NCAA will have predetermined Regional and Super Regional sites in this year’s tournament, sources tell @d1baseball. The sites for both rounds will be announced the week of May 10 and bids must be submitted by April 12.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) April 5, 2021
One of the best opportunities for Miami to earn quality wins before host selection is this weekend against Pitt, and the Hurricanes need to take advantage Saturday and Sunday.
Winning Pitcher: Chase Smith (2-1, 0.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K)
Losing Pitcher: Daniel Federman (2-4, 0.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K)
(Box score posted when available)
@ Pittsburgh Game 2
Date & Time: Saturday, April 10, 3:00 p.m.
Hurricanes Starter: Victor Mederos (1-2, 5.40 ERA)
Pitt Starter: Matt Gilbertson (3-3, 3.43 ERA)
Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM
Television: ACC Network Extra (ESPN3)