Hurricanes Drop Midweek Game with FGCU 4-2
April 11, 2012
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — After a big weekend sweep, the sixth-ranked Hurricanes returned to their home diamond at Alex Rodriguez Park, dropping their midweek contest with the visiting Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast University by a final score of 4-2.
The Hurricanes inability to swing the bat against Florida Gulf Coast pitchers was the focal point of their demise on Wednesday night, as the team had hits in the first and ninth innings and none in between. In total, the Hurricane offense collected only four hits, including two in the ninth inning when the game was nearly out of reach.
After an eventful first inning, starting pitchers Javi Salas and Zack Tillery opened up a pitcher’s duel that would last until the game’s late stages. Salas, making only his second career start, allowed three hits and three runs through his 6.2 innings of work, recording a career-high nine strikeouts on 98 pitches.
Tillery, the Eagles freshman’ righthander making his first career start, was equally as impressive against a Miami line-up fresh off 16 combined runs in their series against the best pitching staff in the conference. The Naples, Fla. native held the Canes to only two hits in seven innings of work, needing only 82 pitches to get through his outing. Tillery, who has started over 25 games for the Eagles’ infield, entered the game with only four pitching appearances, all in relief, through the team’s 33 games.
With some underwhelming defense behind Salas in the game’s first inning, the Hurricanes found themselves quickly trailing 2-0. After a groundball hit to shortstop Stephen Perez was bobbled to give the Eagles two runners on, Eagles’ slugger Sean Dwyer smacked a two-run double to the gap in right-center. The 2-0 lead was one FGCU would not relinquish.
The Hurricanes looked like they might have been staging an early-innings comeback, getting one back in the bottom of the first to cut the deficit to one. After sophomore centerfielder Dale Carey ripped a ball up the middle, a ball struck the batting helmet of catcher Peter O’Brien that advance Carey to second. Two batters later, Chantz Mack connected on an RBI single up the middle that plated the Georgia native for the Hurricanes’ first run of the game.
Unfortunately for Head Coach Jim Morris and staff, it would be their last run until the very ninth inning. In a game that took barely over two and a half hours to play, the Canes only baserunner in between the first and ninth came on an Esteban Tresgallo hit-by-pitch.
Though they struck for a run in the bottom of the ninth, it was too little too late for the sixth-ranked Hurricanes. After O’Brien laced a double to left field with one out, Brad Fieger grounded out softly for the second out of the inning. Mack then ripped another RBI single, this one to left field, that cut the deficit to 4-2. Freshman infielder Jarred Mederos then walked to give the Canes the game-winning run at homeplate. A groundout from Perez on a fielder’s choice would end the threat and the game, however, sending the Hurricanes to their second-consecutive midweek loss.
No. 6 Miami returns to action on Friday with the series opener of a three-game set against the homestanding Virginia Tech Hokies in Blacksburg, Va. First pitch on Friday is set for 5:30 p.m.