Suarez, No. 24 Miami Take Series Finale 5-3
13-4 • 1-2 ACC
Coral Gables, Fla. • Alex Rodriguez Park
8-7 • 2-1 ACC
|W||A. Suarez (2-1)|
|L||R. Huber (2-1)|
|S||E. Nedeljkovic (1)|
|Hernandez, Mack 3, San Juan|
|Betts, Koplove, Perez|
March 10, 2013
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Behind a dominant start from lefthander Andrew Suarez, No. 24 Miami finished off its series against visiting Duke University with a 5-3 win at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
“After being down 2-0 in the series, you can fold up your tent and go home,” head coach Jim Morris said. “It’s a game that had some pressure on it. We needed to win the game today.”
Suarez (2-1) went a career-high seven innings in the victory, scattering six hits while allowing just one earned run. The Miami, Fla., native, who struggled last time out against Florida, rebounded with a dominant outing to help the hosts take their first conference win of 2013.
“Against Florida I was more tight, trying to muscle up everything and throw hard,” Suarez said. “On the bus [ride home] I realized I’m not that kind of pitcher, so I came here more relaxed and [focused on] throwing strikes.”
After falling behind 1-0 early, the Hurricanes (13-4, 1-2 ACC) responded with a three-run third inning to take their first lead of the weekend. First-year shortstop Brandon Lopez opened the inning with a walk from Duke righthander Robert Huber (2-1). After allowing a second consecutive free pass to first baseman Christopher Barr, who was making his first career start in the field, Huber was pulled in favor of reliever Michael Matuella.
The pitching change wouldn’t slow down Miami, however, as a two-RBI single from Chantz Mack and an RBI single from Alex San Juan helped guide the Hurricanes to a 3-1 lead.
The hit extended San Juan’s hitting streak to five consecutive games.
Miami would tack on two more in the sixth. A one-out single from Alex Hernandez plated catcher Garrett Kennedy, while a sacrifice fly from Mack scored Brandon Lopez to make it 5-2.
“Today I had a lot of guys in scoring position while I was up to bat,” Mack said. “Credit to the hitters in front of me for getting on base. I just wanted to get them in.”
Miami’s offense was sparked by the debut of Barr, who hit leadoff and reached base three times. In his postgame remarks, Coach Morris insisted that Barr would be making a second consecutive start Tuesday against Illinois State.
“Barr did a really good job,” Morris said. “We’ve been trying to find someone that can get on base in the leadoff spot…I don’t know where he’s playing, but Tuesday night he’ll be playing.”
The Blue Devils (8-7, 2-1 ACC) would get one back in the eighth on a solo shot from Jordan Betts off AJ Salcines. But senior Eric Nedeljkovic pitched a scoreless ninth inning, earning his first save of the season.
“It was a good ‘bounce back’ game for us,” Mack said. “We were down 2-0 for the series and we just needed to come out and play strong, play hard. Today I feel like we did.”
The Hurricanes host a midweek set with visiting Illinois State beginning Tues., March 12 before traveling to No. 1 North Carolina for a weekend series in Chapel Hill on Fri., March 15.