The Miami Hurricanes won 4-1 on Friday night on the road against the Duke Blue Devils after Dominic Pitelli hit a grand slam in the top of the eighth inning to give the Hurricanes (19-6, 8-2 ACC) the lead. The win was Miami’s sixth straight and if the Hurricanes win either Saturday or Sunday it will mean that they begin conference play with four consecutive series wins.
Friday’s game was a pitcher’s duel for most of the evening. Hurricanes starter Carson Palmquist gave up just one run, on a Graham Pauley solo home run on his second pitch of the game in the bottom of the first inning. After the home run Palmquist pitched extremely well, eventually pitching six innings with a career-high 12 strikeouts.
Duke starting pitcher Marcus Johnson was equally as excellent. Johnson pitched 6.1 scoreless innings and allowed just four hits during his outing. The closest Miami came to scoring before he exited the game was in the top of the first. The Hurricanes loaded the bases with two outs, but a fly out ended the inning.
The Hurricanes again had a chance to tie the game in the top of the fifth inning. CJ Kayfus walked with one out to put the tying run on base for the Hurricanes before a two-out single from Yohandy Morales put two men on base. Johnson worked out of the jam though, forcing a groundout that ended the inning.
Miami did, however, put together a comeback in the top of the eighth. A single, walk, and single, all with two-outs, loaded the bases and brought Dominic Pitelli to the plate. Pitelli took three straight balls, but back-to-back strikes from Duke closer Jimmy Loper made it a full count. With Duke one strike away from escaping the jam, Pitelli hit a grand slam to right-center field to put Miami in the lead.
After the grand slam Gage Ziehl and Andrew Walters combined to retire six consecutive batters to finish the game. Walters earned his seventh save of the season during his appearance, most in the ACC so far in 2022.
The Hurricanes will try to win the series on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Karson Ligon, the conference leader in ERA at 1.72 heading into the weekend, is expected to start for Miami.
Winning Pitcher: Rafe Schlesinger (1-0, 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K)
Losing Pitcher: Jimmy Loper (2-1, 1.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K)
Save: Andrew Walters (7)