Hurricanes Drop Series Opener to Duke

March 16, 2012

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 R H E W: M. Stroman (2-2)
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 8 2 L: E. Erickson (3-2)
Blue Devils 0 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 X 5 12 3  

2B: R. Rodriguez (8), J. Mederos (4), J. Santos (2) | J. Betts, A. Istler
RBI: J. Mederos (5) | W. Piwnica-Worms, A. Istler, A. LaBruna
SB: T. Palmer (6)

DURHAM, N.C. – In a highly-anticipated pitcher’s duel to open a three-game series at Durham Bulls Athletic Park, the Duke University Blue Devils came out on top with a 4-1 win over the Hurricanes.

Lefthander Eric Erickson started the game for tenth-ranked Miami (14-4, 3-1), pitching efficiently through his 6.1 innings of work. The Sarasota, Fla. native, who has pitched six innings or more in four of his five starts in 2012, allowed four earned runs on the night to go along with four strikeouts.

Though they entered with only a 7-12 overall record, the Blue Devils started ace Marcus Stroman in the opener, and the junior righthander was every bit as good as advertised. The Medford, N.Y. native recorded the sixth double-digit strikeout performance of his career, punching out 13 Hurricane batters in his seven-inning stint.

The Blue Devils would be the first team to strike, scoring single runs in the second and third inning to build a 2-0 lead. After Erickson allowed a lead-off single to Jordan Betts, Andrew Istler drove him with an RBI double to left center. It was Duke outfielder Will Piwnica-Worms who gave the Devils a 2-0 advantage with an RBI single of his own in the very next inning.

Miami came close to scoring on a number of occassions early in the game, but were unable to convert. After captain Peter O’Brien singled in the first inning, leftfielder Rony Rodriguez smacked a double to left field that gave O’Brien a chance to score. The senior was tagged out at home plate, however, to end the inning and the early surge.

The Hurricanes stranded at least one batter in each of the next three innings, as Stroman began to find his groove. Miami once again came up short in the fifth inning, after Tyler Palmer reached via base on balls and advanced to third on a stolen base and throwing error. Though a strikeout from Dale Carey ended that threat, the Hurricanes managed to score in the seventh.

After a flyball from pinch-hitter Julian Santos was misread in shallow left field, the sophomore made his way to second base with a double. Two plays later, freshman shortstop Jarred Mederos knocked in Santos with an RBI single. It would be the only run the Hurricanes would score on the night, however, as Istler pitched two impressive innings of relief of Stroman, moving on to the hill from his original position of left field.

The Hurricanes return to the ballpark tomorrow afternoon for game two of the three-game series. Junior righthander Eric Whaley (1-1, 3.63 ERA) is set to face off against Blue Devils lefthander Trent Swart (2-2, 3.10 ERA). First pitch for the game is scheduled for 2 p.m. from Durham Bulls Athletic Park.