Carey, Suarez Power No. 5 Baseball to 9-1 Win
Durham, N.C. • Durham Bulls Athletic Park
|W||A. Suarez (5-2)|
|L||T. Swart (4-1)|
|Abreu, W. (7), Lopez, B. (6)|
|Carey, D. (6)|
|Heyward, J. 3 (3), Carey, D. 5 (25), Lopez, B. (27)|
DURHAM, N.C. — Lefthander Andrew Suarez delivered seven dominant innings on the mound, Dale Carey belted the Hurricanes first grand slam in over two years, and No. 5 Miami clinched its series against No. 30 Duke with an impressive 9-1 game two victory at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The fifth-ranked Hurricanes, who extended the nation’s longest road winning streak to 14 games with the decision, overcame Blue Devils ace Trent Swart to capture their sixth straight ACC series and seventh overall.
Miami has reeled off wins in 24 of its last 26 games, and will look to finish off its fourth consecutive ACC road sweep on Sunday.
“A lot of people think Duke’s starting rotation is as good as anybody’s in our conference – they’re really good,” head coach Jim Morris said. “I thought our team played really well overall and took advantage of some big opportunities. It was a really good team win.”
Carey’s eighth-inning grand slam – Miami’s first since Michael Broad accomplished the feat against Florida State on April 22, 2012 – cleared the Blue Monster in leftfield and broke the game open late. The Hurricanes entered the eighth leading just 3-1, but struck for six runs off the Blue Devils bullpen in an offensive outburst.
Suarez surrendered just one run over his seven-inning, 100-pitch outing, scattering five singles while striking out three. The performance continued an impressive stretch for the Miami native, who has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since March 30, and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of his 13 starts this spring.
“Mixing pitches,” Suarez said when asked of his key to success Saturday. “They’re very aggressive – they were jumping on my fastball a lot early, so I worked on throwing my changeup, slider and curveball later in the game.”
Swart, who entered the contest with a miniscule 0.90 ERA, kept Miami off the board until the fifth, but was eventually tagged for a season-high three runs in the defeat. The Duke lefty struck out six batters but walked four, and took his first loss of the season facing an opportunistic Miami offense.
Suarez, who battled Clemson ace Daniel Gossett to a thrilling extra-innings win on the road two weeks ago, added another exciting pitchers’ duel to his spring resume.
“It’s always fun, competing against the top guys in the ACC,” Suarez said. “That’s why I came here – to pitch against those guys.”
Miami registered four runs off reliever Nick Hendrix and another two off righthander Sam Ohanian, maintaining its hold on first place in the conference standings with four ACC games remaining. Carey’s grand slam punctuated an impressive all-around performance for a surging Hurricanes ballclub.
After recording just two hits in the game’s first four innings, Miami finally broke through in the fifth, scraping together a run on an RBI groundout from freshman outfielder Jacob Heyward.
Sophomore shortstop Brandon Lopez opened the inning with a single to shallow center, and a walk from Swart after a lengthy battle with freshman Johnny Ruiz put two Hurricanes runners on base. A sacrifice bunt effort from senior Brad Fieger proved key, as Swart’s throw to third was not in time to catch Lopez, giving the Canes bases loaded with no outs.
Swart did well to limit the damage, however, allowing just a single run on a hard-hit grounder from Heyward before inducing a double play to end the inning. The RBI was the career-first for Heyward, who made his third consecutive start in the outfield.
“Swart was mixing his pitches well, and he was working in and out,” Carey said. “He was throwing his changeup well against his righties, and I give him a lot of credit for the work he put in today.”
Duke would respond, tagging Suarez for its first run of the afternoon on an RBI single from Kenny Koplove. But the lefthander stranded runners on the corners, inducing a lineout from second baseman Andy Perez to end the inning to keep the score knotted at 1-1.
Suarez worked himself out of another big jam in the home half of the sixth after allowing a walk to Jordan Betts and a single to Blue Devils slugger Chris Marconcini to open the inning. A sacrifice bunt from Aaron Cohn moved both runners into scoring position with just one out, setting up a scoring chance for David Perkins.
The designated hitter’s grounder made its way right to Suarez, however, and the pitcher started a 1-2-5 relay that caught Betts in a rundown on the third base line. Suarez then induced a flyout to right from Mike Rosenfeld for the final out of the inning.
Miami connected for two singles off Swart in the seventh, putting runners on the corners and chasing the lefthander after 6.1 effective innings. Freshman Johnny Ruiz lined the first pitch he saw from Swart into center, and a slapped single from Fieger on the 99th pitch of the afternoon from Swart sent Ruiz to third base.
The hit prompted a call to the bullpen, and Heyward’s second RBI of the day, which came on a fielder’s choice to second base off Blue Devils righthander Andrew Istler, saw Miami regain a 2-1 advantage.
And the Hurricanes weren’t done yet.
A wild pitch from Istler and an error on the ensuing throw to second from catcher Mike Rosenfeld advanced Heyward to third base. Carey capitalized on the Blue Devils’ miscue, cracking an RBI single into leftfield to plate Heyward for a 3-1 lead.
After a bases-loaded walk to Heyward and an RBI double from Lopez made it 5-1 in the eighth, Carey cranked a hanging slider from Ohanian into the Tobacco Road restaurant in leftfield for his career-first slam.
“I was looking for something up to hit, because I knew they would come slider there,” Carey said. “He left it up, and I got a hold of it.”
Sophomore Thomas Woodrey and senior AJ Salcines combined to finish off the final two innings, extending Miami’s program-long streak to 11 straight ACC road wins.
“Carey came through with a big hit, and at this point in the season, every win is a big win,” Morris said. “11 straight road wins in a row..it’s great.”
No. 5 Miami will return to Durham Bulls Athletic Park on Sunday for their series finale with the Blue Devils. First pitch for the contest, scheduled for live broadcast on RSN with ESPN3 simulcast, is set for noon.