The Miami Hurricanes lost their opening game at the ACC Tournament after the Duke Blue Devils hit a walk-off home run. The loss moves Duke through to the ACC Tournament semifinals on Saturday and eliminated Miami from contention to advance. The loss also dropped Miami’s overall record to 32-18 (20-15 ACC).
Both starting pitchers were excellent in Thursday afternoon’s game. Hurricanes starter Jake Smith worked five scoreless innings for Miami. Smith struck out six batters and allowed just two hits and one walk in his afternoon of work. Smith got into trouble after a leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth, but an incredible double play and a strikeout ended the inning.
Duke similarly held Miami scoreless till the top of the sixth inning. Back-to-back doubles from Christian Del Castillo and Yohandy Morales scored the Hurricanes first run of the game. Morales moved to third on a groundout before scoring with aggressive baserunning on a fielder’s choice.
Yoyo with a nifty slide to make it 2-0 Canes! pic.twitter.com/aZ6x9c50Wc— Canes Baseball (@CanesBaseball) May 27, 2021
Duke came back to tie the game in the top of the seventh. A single and a double gave the Blue Devils two runners in scoring position with nobody out, and a single up the middle scored both runs to tie the game. Another double and an intentional walk followed to load the bases for Duke, but Daniel Federman forced a double play to get Miami out of the inning.
The Hurricanes left a combined four men on base in the eighth and ninth innings before Carson Palmquist looked to finish his second inning of work in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. Unfortunately for Miami, Michael Rothenberg hit a walk-off solo homerun that gave Duke a 3-2 victory and sent them to the semifinals.
Miami left 11 runners on base on Thursday afternoon and didn’t take advantage of far too many opportunities throughout the game. The Hurricanes hit several balls hard, including what would have been a two-run home run for Anthony Vilar that went just a few feet foul, but the Miami couldn’t get a hit to drop when they needed it.
On Friday Miami will finish their schedule at the ACC Tournament with a game against Florida State. Neither team can advance to the semifinals, but a victory could be huge for both sides as both teams look to gain momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament.
Winning Pitcher: Marcus Johnson (5-3, 3.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K)
Losing Pitcher: Carson Palmquist (1-1, 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K)
Date & Time: Friday, May 28, 3:00 p.m.
Hurricanes Starter: TBD
Florida State Starter: TBD
Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM
Television: ACC Network Extra / Regional Sports Networks