First-Place Baseball Reels Off Fifth Straight
Clemson, S.C. • Doug Kingsmore Stadium
|L||J. Long (2-3)|
|Lopez, B. 2 (20), Palmer, T. (25), Collins, Z. 2 (39), Hernandez, A. 2 (19), Zunica, B. (6), Rivera, L. (2)|
|Okey, C., Wilkerson, S.|
CLEMSON, S.C. — Redshirt junior Bryan Radziewski became just the 11th pitcher in program history to top the 300-strikeout mark Sunday afternoon, as the No. 11 Hurricanes finished off a sweep of No. 20 Clemson with a dominant 10-2 victory at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
With the win, Miami remained in sole possession of first place in the ACC.
Radziewski continued a weekend of electric pitching performances with one of his own in the series finale. The Miami, Fla., native allowed just four singles on the day, striking out nine batters and moving into elite company in the Hurricanes record books. The southpaw became the first pitcher since Chris Hernandez (2008-10) to reach the milestone, and picked up his third win in his last four starts to improve his personal record to 4-2.
“It’s a great accomplishment. I’m proud to say I’m a part of it,” Radziewski said. “It shows all the hard work I’ve put in. To be a part of that list is something I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life.”
Facing the top statistical offense in the ACC, Miami’s starting rotation surrendered just two earned runs in 22.2 innings for a combined weekend ERA of 0.79.
Miami’s offense proved equally as dominant Sunday afternoon, scoring multiple runs in three of the game’s first five innings and connecting for a season-high 16 hits. Six Hurricanes recorded multi-hit games in the win, while Tyler Palmer, Zack Collins and Willie Abreu – who comprised spots No. 2 through No. 4 in the lineup – finished the series a combined 17-for-36 (.472).
Senior Alex Hernandez led all hitters with a career-best four hits Sunday. Collins ended the weekend with six hits and five RBI, raising his season average to .306.
“We did a good job swinging the bat this weekend – everyone did a good job,” Collins said. “Hernandez swung it well to give us a boost today, and everyone has really been chipping in.”
With the win, Miami captured its fourth sweep in the last five weekends and improved to 19-1 in its last 20 games. The Hurricanes extended the nation’s longest road winning streak to 12 consecutive games, handing the Tigers their first conference sweep of the spring. Miami has now won its last six consecutive games against the Tigers dating back to 2013.
“We played well today, and we played well all weekend,” head coach Jim Morris said. “We played good defense, we swung the bat well, and we had a good weekend. This is a very tough place to sweep.”
The Hurricanes (32-13, 19-5 ACC) struck first once again in game three, tagging Clemson righthander Jake Long (2-3) for two runs in the first inning.
Back-to-back one-out singles from Palmer and Collins put runners on the corners, but a dribbler from Abreu back to the mound looked like a potential second out. Rather than get the sure out at first, however, Long tried to get Palmer diving back to third. The pitcher’s throw got away from third baseman Weston Wilson and loaded the bases for Brandon Lopez.
The sophomore shortstop came through in his early scoring opportunity, lacing a Long offering into rightfield to plate both Palmer and Collins, spotting Radziewski a 2-0 lead before he even stepped on the mound.
Clemson would immediately cut the Miami deficit in half, however, as an RBI single from freshman Chris Okey made it 2-1. After struggling with command early and walking the first two batters of the game, Radziewski rebounded to strand two runners with back-to-back strikeouts of Garrett Boulware and Shane Kennedy.
“Radziewski struggled with command early, but he settled down and ended up pitching great,” Morris said. “Even in the first, he got two big strikeouts. He had a big day for us.”
The Hurricanes added two runs in the fourth to increase their lead to 4-1, while a two-RBI single from Alex Hernandez in the fifth made it 6-1.
Radziewski reached the milestone in the home half of the fifth on a swinging strikeout of Okey. The lefthander then called for time from the umpire, throwing the ball to the dugout as a keepsake of his accomplishment.
The Hurricanes blew the game open with four runs in the eighth, as an RBI single from Collins, a bases-loaded walk from Brad Zunica and an RBI single from Laz Rivera keyed a successful frame.
Collins, who has a team-leading 39 RBI, said the challenge of playing at Doug Kingsmore Stadium was one his teammates embraced.
“This was my first time here – it’s great atmosphere, they had good crowds, and they’re a really good team,” Collins said. “We just played well this weekend.”
Radziewski gave way to the Hurricanes bullpen in the seventh. Sophomore Thomas Woodrey pitched two scoreless innings, while senior Javi Salas pitched the ninth.
“I wasn’t afraid to give up hits or give up runs,” Radziewski said of his performance. “The team had my back today, and that’s the way we’ve been playing all year.”
No. 11 Miami returns to Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field on Friday, May 2 for a nonconference series against Alabama State. First pitch for the series opener, scheduled for radio broadcast on WVUM 90.5 and live video stream on HurricaneSports.com, is set for 7 p.m.