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No. 10 Miami Bounces Back with 2-1 Win

March 17, 2012

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  1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 R H E W: E. Whaley (2-1)
Hurricanes 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 7 1 L: T. Swart (0-2)
Blue Devils 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 8 0 S: E. Encinosa (5)
Batting

2B: S. Perez (1) | J. Betts (7)
RBI: M. Broad (12), T. Palmer (12) | A. Istler (3)

DURHAM, N.C. – After dropping game one of their series with Duke University in disappointing fashion, the tenth-ranked Hurricanes returned to Durham Bulls Athletic Park Saturday for a 2-1 over the Blue Devils.

Behind the strong pitching of starter Eric Whaley, the Hurricanes (15-4, 4-1 ACC) took home a key conference win, setting the table for Sunday’s rubber match at 1 p.m. Whaley (2-1), who allowed only one earned run in the team’s win over Boston College last weekend, pitched 8.1 innings in his second victory of the year, marking a new career-long outing in the process. He struck out two Duke batters and walked three others.

After struggling with runners in scoring position in game one, the Hurricanes finally broke through in the top of the fourth on Saturday. After back-to-back singles from first baseman Brad Fieger and third baseman Esteban Tresgallo, Stephen Perez bunted his way on base on a ball that snuck under the pitcher’s glove to load the bases.

Michael Broad, next to bat in the inning, hit a ball deep down the rightfield line that was caught in foul territory. The ball was hit just far enough to plate Fieger, as the game’s scoring opened in Miami’s favor.

Duke lefthander Trent Swart would set down the next seven Canes batters, however, as he matched Whaley in effectiveness through his seven innings of work. Featuring a combination of pitches that kept the Hurricane line-up off-balance, Swart struck out seven batters and allowed only six hits, including his lone run allowed in the fourth inning.

The Blue Devils managed to break through in the bottom of the seventh inning, as Jordan Betts hit a lead-off double down the left field line. Betts would move to third base after a throwing error from Whaley on a pick-off attempt, and was later driven in on an RBI bloop single from Andrew Istler.

Whaley matched his career long when he finished out the eighth inning, as the Hurricanes came to bat in the top of the ninth looking for a clinching run. Broad was once involved in the scoring, as he was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. After Mederos moved Broad over to second with a sacrifice bunt, Tyler Palmer laced an RBI single to right field that gave the Canes a 2-1 advantage late in the game.

Whaley would set a personal record for longest outing when he recordedt he first out of the ninth. But after allowing two baserunners, he was subsequently replaced by Jim Morris in favor of closer E.J. Encinosa. The junior reliever, who had already recorded three saves in the past week, earned his fifth save of the season by getting the next two Blue Devils batters out, including Friday night starter Marcus Stroman pinch-hitting on a strikeout.

The Hurricanes were led offensively by junior second baseman Stephen Perez (2-for-4, 2B) and sophomore centerfielder Dale Carey (2-for-4, BB). Duke was led on offense by Andy Perez (2-for-4) and Andrew Istler (2-for-4, RBI). The series finale at Durham Bulls Athletic Park is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.

GAME NOTES

Setting the Tone
After a disappointing loss on Friday night, junior righthander Eric Whaley helped the Hurricanes rebound with an 8.1-inning performance on Saturday. The Pompano Beach, Fla. native allowed only one run over his lengthy stint.

Snapping Out Of It
Sophomore rightfielder Tyler Palmer broke a 0-for-7 drought in the first two games of the series with his key RBI single in the ninth inning. Palmer is one of only 19 Hurricanes to have competed in every single game this season.

Switch It Up
Junior lefthander Steven Ewing (2-0, 2.12 ERA) will take the mound for the Hurricanes on Sunday. Sophomore Bryan Radziewski had started each Sunday game of the season leading up to the team’s current series against Duke.