Miami Drops Series Finale to No. 24 Hokies
19-8 • 4-5 ACC
Coral Gables, Fla. • Alex Rodriguez Park
18-7 • 5-4 ACC
|T. McIntyre (3-0)
|A. Salcines (2-3)
|Hayden, Horan 2, Rash
|Barr, Eusebio, Kennedy, Hernandez, Heyman
|Hayden 2, Morgan, Rash 2, Zagunis 2
March 24, 2013
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Miami Hurricanes dropped their series finale with No. 24 Virginia Tech Sunday, falling in the afternoon affair by a final score of 8-5.
Trailing for most of the game, Miami struck for two runs in the bottom of the seventh to knot the game up at 5-5. Lefthanded pinch-hitters Garrett Kennedy and Grant Heyman connected for RBI singles off Hokies’ sidewinder Clark Labitan in a crucial frame for Miami.
After a scoreless ninth inning, the Tech offense would strike for three runs in the top of the tenth off AJ Salcines (2-3), while Miami was unable to generate any runs off Hokies’ reliever Tanner McIntyre (3-0).
After being shut out in Saturday’s series-deciding loss, the Hokies (18-7, 5-4 ACC) struck for four runs off Miami starter Andrew Suarez in the game’s first inning. A two-run homerun from Mark Zagunis and a two-RBI double from Brendon Hayden put the Canes in an early hole, but Miami would soon chip away at the deficit.
The Hurricanes (19-8, 4-5 ACC) used a two-run third inning to cut Virginia Tech’s lead in half. After Hokies’ starter Joe Mantiply allowed back-to-back singles to Brandon Lopez and Dale Carey to open the frame, freshman Christopher Barr blooped a single into shallow centerfield that plated Lopez from third. A sharply hit groundball from junior Alex Hernandez zipped through the legs of Hokies’ third baseman Chad Pinder, scoring Carey to make it 4-2.
Mantiply did well to limit the damage, however. Chantz Mack laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both Hurricanes runners, but the lefthander struck out Alex San Juan and induced a groundout from Brad Fieger to end the inning with his team still leading by two runs.
Suarez would settle down after a rough first inning, retiring the next seven batters in a row before the visitors took advantage of some defensive miscues in the fourth. Hokies’ centerfielder Andrew Rash reached on an error by Fieger, and eventually took third on a groundout and a wild pitch from Suarez. The southpaw then got Kyle Wernicki on a liner to short for the second out of the inning, but the second error of the frame for Fieger on a grounder from designated hitter Chad Morgan plated Rash to make it 5-2.
A scary moment for the Hurricanes occurred in the bottom of the sixth, when senior Michael Broad was hit in the head by a two-out pitch from Hokies reliever Jake Joyce. After being checked on by the team trainer and coaching staff, Broad remained in the game and quickly made a key play on the basepaths that resulted in another Miami run.
A wild pitch from Joyce during Ricky Eusebio’s at bat made its way past Zagunis and to the backstop. Some heads-up baserunning from Broad resulted in two bases, while Eusebio chopped the next pitch he saw up the middle to plate Broad from third and cut the deficit to 5-3.
Suarez would finish his day just one-third of an inning shy of tying a career-long performance, exiting after 6.2 strong frames. The Miami, Fla., native scattered seven hits in the 112-pitch outing, allowing just two earned runs while striking out three Hokies and walking none. With two runners on base, senior Eric Nedeljkovic entered the game for Suarez in the top of the seventh, striking out Hokies’ slugger Chad Pinder to end the inning.
Virginia Tech would strike for three runs in the decisive tenth frame, as Miami dropped its first extra-inning game of the season in the loss.
The Hurricanes return to Alex Rodriguez Park Wednesday for a midweek tilt with nearby Florida Atlantic. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.