Blue Devils Take Low-Scoring Affair

May 20, 2011

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E W: Dennis O’Grady (6-3)
Duke 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 5 1 L: Eric Whaley (7-5)
#15 Miami 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1 S: Marcus Stroman (4)

2B: N/A
HR: W. Piwnica-Worms
RBI: W. Piwnica-Worms (2)
SB: M. Stroman, W. Piwnica-Worms, N. Melendres

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The 15th-ranked Miami Hurricanes received another strong pitching performance from sophomore Eric Whaley, but could not produce any run support, dropping the second game of the series to Duke, 2-0, on Friday night at Alex Rodriguez Park.

The loss marks just the second time since 1966 that Miami (33-20, 18-10 ACC) has lost to Duke (26-29, 7-22 ACC).

Whaley (7-5, 2.61 ERA) was credited with the loss, while Duke’s starter Dennis O’Grady (6-3, 3.65 ERA) earned the win. Marcus Stroman, who is slated to start Saturday’s finale, relieved O’Grady in the eighth inning and picked up his fourth save on the year in the process.

It has been a tough season for the sophomore Whaley. He leads the team with a 2.61 ERA, but sits at a 7-5 record due to a lack of run support when he is on the mound. In his last three ACC starts, UM has managed to get just nine hits with him pitching. Tonight was no different, as the Canes’ offense left eight players stranded – six in the last three innings – including a bases-loaded opportunity in the eighth.

Whaley started the game strong, striking out two of the first four, and getting out nine of the first 10 batters he faced. The same could not be said of Miami’s offense, which went three up, three down in the first inning for the eleventh time at home this season.

It took a few times through the lineup for each team to wake up the offense, with the teams combining for only five hits through six innings, and the Canes at one point managed to bat through the entire lineup without recording a hit.

The Canes looked to get their offense started in the second inning but were fruitless. Junior Harold Martinez flied out deep to center and junior Rony Rodriguez was doubled off after a Brad Fieger line drive was caught by Duke first baseman Chris Marconcini.

Whaley continued to the keep the Canes in the game in the second inning. He retired all three batters he faced, but, again, Miami was unable to produce entering the fourth inning still having not recorded a hit.

Duke scored the game’s first run in the fourth when center fielder Will Piwnica-Worms singled up the middle to drive in right fielder Marcus Stroman. It would be three innings before the Blue Devils would score again, but missed opportunities phased out any threat the Canes could have posed.

Miami, again, failed to score in the fifth.

Martinez sacrifice bunted to move Rodriguez into scoring position, and Fieger promptly bumped the center fielder to third with the Canes’ first hit of the game. Two batters later, though, senior Chris Pelaez struck out swinging, missing the opportunity to drive in the runner.

UMiami once again failed to manufacture a run in the sixth. Sophomore Zeke DeVoss led off and recorded the team’s second hit on the night – a single through the right side. With two outs, and junior Nathan Melendres at the plate, DeVoss attempted to steal second but was gunned down by Blue Devils catcher Jeff Kremer to end the inning.

Leading off the seventh inning, Piwnica-Worms struck again for Duke when he blasted a 1-0 fastball over the left field fence for a solo shot bringing the score to 2-0 in favor of the visiting Blue Devils. The center fielder scored both of Duke’s runs, with two hits on the night. It was just the second home run Whaley had allowed at home all season – and first since his season opener against Rutgers.

The Hurricanes best chance to score came in the eighth inning.

With the bases loaded, two outs and a full count – Rodriguez hit a blooper to right center, but Duke’s second baseman Matt Berezo made a catch while falling backwards to end the inning and the Canes’ hopes for a win.

The finale between Miami and Duke will take place Saturday at 1 p.m.

UMiami will send sophomore right-hander E.J. Encinosa (4-5, 3.16 ERA) to the mound against fellow right-hander Marcus Stroman (3-4, 2.80 ERA).

Live stats for the game will be provided through Game Tracker at Fans can also join the live chat, provided by Cover It Live, by visiting as well.

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University of Miami Postgame Notes:

With the loss, the Hurricanes are now:

  • 33-20 overall
  • 18-10 in the ACC
  • 22-11 at Alex Rodriguez Park
  • 7-5 on Fridays

This was the second time Miami has lost to Duke since 1966.

Tonight’s Starter
Eric Whaley suffered a tough loss Friday, pitching eight effective innings. The offense did not provide any support for his third-straight ACC start, connecting for only nine hits with Whaley on the mound over that stretch.

Whaley’s only earned run allowed was a homer, the first one he has allowed at home since his first start of the year versus Rutgers.

Last Three ACC Starts
Apr. 30: Loss to Florida State, 6.1 IP 6 H 1 ER
May 14: Loss to Virginia, 6.0 IP 4 H 0 ER
Tonight: Loss to Duke, 8.0 IP 5 H 1 ER

Long and Short
Last season Harold Martinez led the ACC with 27 homers, and this year he leads the team with 10 sacrifice bunts – including one tonight.

No Runs
Tonight was the fourth time the Canes have been shutout this season. It also happened in losses to Hofstra, Florida State and Florida.

Senior Night
Prior to the game, Jim Morris and the team honored seniors Chris Pelaez and Michael Rudman for their contributions to program.