No. 20 Baseball Stays Hot, Continues Streak
Coral Gables, Fla. • Alex Rodriguez Park
|S||B. Garcia (10)|
|Palmer, T. (8), Carey, D. (12), Ruiz, J. (4)|
|Abreu, W. (20), Carey, D. (14), Ruiz, J. 2 (8), Hernandez, A. 2 (17)|
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — No. 20 Miami completed its third straight ACC weekend sweep Sunday afternoon, finishing off visiting Pittsburgh 7-2 at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
With the victory, Miami extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 12 straight games and swept three consecutive three-game ACC series for the first time ever. The Hurricanes are tied atop the ACC for the best league mark through six weekends of conference play.
“Big game for us – it was a great effort by our team,” head coach Jim Morris said. “The whole weekend was a team [effort]. We pitched well, we played really good defense, and we got some big hits. I’m extremely happy with the way our guys are playing.”
Paced by another standout performance from one of its starting pitchers, Miami (25-12, 14-4 ACC) added another victory to its longest winning streak since a 14-game stretch in 2008. Redshirt junior lefthander Bryan Radziewski continued the Hurricanes momentum with 6.2 strong innings, allowing just one hit and one earned run.
Radziewski fanned eight batters on the day – just two shy of his season high – and moved his personal record to 3-2 on the season. After struggling for most of March, the Miami, Fla, native has turned the page in April, allowing just three combined earned runs over his two starts this month – both wins.
“[Pitching coach] J.D. [Arteaga] and I sat down and we worked on things,” Radziewski said. “It’s been a real difference maker in turning my season around – more mental things, different grips. It’s been working out.”
With a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning, Miami added four insurance runs on a two-RBI hits from infielders Johnny Ruiz and Alex Hernandez to blow the game open late.
Ruiz finished the game with a career high-tying three hits, none bigger than his eighth inning double into the left-center gap that extended Miami’s lead from 3-2 to 5-2.
“He had a big day – he was our player of the game today,” Morris said of Ruiz. “He’s playing solid at third base. His defense has really shored us up at that spot.”
Freshman Bryan Garcia, who entered in a one-run game at the top of the eighth, saw his team put up four runs in the home half of the inning to take a 7-2 lead. Garcia allowed just one single in his 2.0-inning stint, recording a career-high four strikeouts and moving into a tie for first place in the ACC with 10 saves.
“It’s huge,” Garcia said of the insurance runs. “It makes the game a lot easier – you just go out there, attack the zone and make sure you throw strikes. You don’t have to think too much, you just let them hit the ball.”
After needing 10 innings to score its first run Saturday night, Miami opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning off Pitt righthander Matt Wotherspoon (3-5).
Senior captain Tyler Palmer connected on a one-out double into the right-center gap to open the action, and took third on a wild pitch from Wotherspoon. Freshman outfielder Willie Abreu, who delivered a walk-off single in Saturday’s thrilling 1-0 win, connected on a sacrifice fly to deep right to plate the speedy Palmer from third.
Miami built on its lead in the third inning, when an RBI single from senior Dale Carey scored Hernandez from second base to make it 2-0. Hernandez reached first on an error charged to Pitt second baseman Matt Johnson, and took second on a sacrifice bunt from junior catcher Garrett Kennedy.
Carey, who entered the game with six hits over the first two games of the series, continued his hot streak with a chopper to centerfield that split the Pittsburgh middle infield. He finished the series 8-for-13 (.615), moving his average back over .300 for the spring (.308).
After allowing a run on a wild pitch in the fifth, Radziewski struck out three batters over the next 1.2 innings before being pulled in favor of freshman Cooper Hammond.
“With the pitching staff we have, our main thing is keeping the guys in the game,” Radziewski said. “Right now, we know that if we give up a few runs, [the offense] will answer back for us, just like if they make an error, we have to have their backs…we’re clicking on all cylinders right now, and it shows.”
Miami is tied for its second-best ACC start in program history at 14-4, with another home series Notre Dame (14-21, 3-15 ACC) looming next weekend.
“It’s great. We’re going out every day, giving it our all, and having fun, and we’re winning,” Carey said of the team’s winning streak. “It’s the biggest confidence booster…we just have to keep it going.”
No. 20 Miami returns to Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field Wednesday for a midweek matchup with FAU. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
Season tickets to Miami’s 2014 season at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field start for as low as $99, with a Family Plan option (two adult tickets, three youth tickets) covering all home games available for just $199. For more information, visit CanesTix.com or call (305) 284-2263.