O'Brien Powers No. 13 Miami to Sweep of Rutgers
Feb. 19, 2012
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Hurricanes’ finale against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights served as catcher Peter O’Brien’s coming out party at Alex Rodriguez Park, as the senior captain successfully guided No. 13 Miami to a 9-7 win and series sweep.
O’Brien, who hit his first two career homeruns in orange and green on Sunday, came just a triple shy of the cycle against Rutgers. He finished the game with four hits, his first three RBI of 2012, and three runs scored.
After stellar starts from Eric Erickson and Eric Whaley in the first two games of the series, Bryan Radziewski labored through his season debut. The sophomore lasted only 3.2 innings, allowing four earned runs and four walks while striking out three.
But O’Brien, who had three hits combined in the first two games of the season-opening set, exploded for four on Sunday to carry Miami. His first career home run as a Cane, an opposite field shot carried by the wind over the right field wall, came in the third inning with his team sporting a 3-1 lead. After adding an RBI single in the fourth, O’Brien smashed his second solo homerun of the day over the fence in left center during his at-bat in the sixth.
Despite O’Brien’s offensive fireworks, junior Chantz Mack made the play of the day for the Canes in right field. After entering in the top of the sixth, reliever AJ Salcines loaded the bases on a fielding error, a single and a hit batsman. With two outs, Rutgers third baseman Ross Costello connected on a rope to right field; Mack, in full sprint, dove to snare the ball and end the Rutgers’ threat.
After combining for only 11 hits in the first two games, the Scarlet Knights offense collected 12 basehits on Sunday, paced by a 3-for-4 showing from first baseman Bill Hoermann and a homerun from designated hitter Jeff Melillo. But 14 men left on base combined with a poor start from Rob Corsi, who allowed seven earned runs in less than four innings of work, cost Rutgers a seemingly winnable finale.
The Miami bullpen bent but did not break in relief of Radziewski, as freshman Alexander Fernandez (1-0) earned his first career win despite pitching only one-third of an inning. Christian Diaz (1 IP, 1 ER) and Adam Sargent (0.2 IP, ER) also made their season debuts out of the pen. Closer E.J. Encinosa needed only 11 pitches to earn his first save of the year with a perfect ninth inning.