No. 11 Miami Drops First of Two Games Against Fordham, 4-3

No. 11 Miami Drops First of Two Games Against Fordham, 4-3

March 16, 2010

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Despite 6 2/3 perfect innings from relievers E.J. Encinosa and Eric Whaley, the 11th-ranked University of Miami baseball team dropped the first of two games against Fordham this week with a 4-3 loss to the Rams Tuesday night at Alex Rodriguez Park.

After falling behind 4-3 after three innings of play, Miami’s bullpen did all it could to give the UM offense a chance to get back ahead but in the end, the `Canes were unable to mount the short comeback needed.

Despite having its lead-off man reach base in seven of nine innings on the night, the `Canes were unable to advance runners in several crucial spots, stranding eight runners on base in the one-run loss. Stephen Perez was the lone Hurricane with multiple hits, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored.

UM starter Steven Ewing (2-1) struggled for the first time in three career starts, allowing four runs on six hits while walking two and striking out two in 2 1/3 innings. E.J. Encinosa came on in relief of Ewing, and retired all 14 batters he faced, tossing 4 2/3 scoreless before Eric Whaley retired six straight – including four strikeouts – to end the game. The right-handers continued the bullpen’s scoreless innings streak – which now stands at 23 1/3 innings heading into Wednesday’s re-match with the Rams.

Fordham starter Brian Pendergast (1-1) earned the victory, allowing just two earned runs on four hits while walking six and striking out three in five innings. Jordan Grangard, Rich Anastasi and Daniel Munday combined to throw 3 1/3 scoreless in relief before Brando Casalicchio recorded the final two outs to earn his second save of the season. Angelo Ponte went 2-for-4 with three RBI to lead the Rams (4-10) offensively.

The `Canes plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to take the early lead. The first run came across when Perez scored from third on a failed pick-off attempt at first. Moments later, an infield single by Chris Pelaez was thrown away by third baseman Ryan Mahini, allowing Yasmani Grandal to score all the way from first on the play.

Fordham immediately responded with three runs in the second to take a one-run lead. A walk and a double to lead off the frame started Fordham’s the rally before Ponte’s single to left scored both runners to tie the game up at two. Three batters later, a double to right-center by Alex Kenny scored Ponte to give the Rams the lead.

The Rams were at it again in the third, scoring another run on another RBI single by Ponte, forcing Ewing out of the game.

With runners on the corners with one out in the bottom half of the third, Pelaez hit a deep sacrifice fly to center, bringing Perez in to cut the deficit to one.

The Hurricanes and Knights will turn around and face each other again on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Alex Rodriguez Park. Freshman left-hander Jerad Grundy (0-0, 9.00 ERA) will take the mound for the `Canes while righty John Flanagan (0-3, 14.54 ERA) will start for Fordham.