Canes Take Series From #8 Clemson, But Drop Finale, 8-3
CLEMSON, S.C. – No. 8 Clemson used a seven-run fifth to take control in the middle innings, as Miami could not finish off a sweep in the series finale, falling, 8-3, at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
After capturing Game 1 of the doubleheader earlier in the afternoon, the Hurricanes (15-20, 9-9 ACC) were looking for their third straight sweep of the Tigers and managed to take an early lead in Game 2.
But Clemson tagged Miami righthander Andrew Cabezas for seven runs in the decisive fifth, a frame that included a grand slam from Chris Williams, to take a lead it would not relinquish in front of 6,513 fans.
The loss snapped Miami’s regular-season winning streak over Clemson (26-10, 11-7 ACC) at 10 games, though the Hurricanes still managed to win their fourth straight series over the Tigers dating to 2013 by taking two of three games.
The Hurricanes found early success against Clemson lefthander Jake Higginbotham.
In the second inning, a leadoff double from freshman Isaac Quinones set the table for senior Michael Burns, who drove a pitch down the right field line to plate the opening run on a double two batters later.
Burns, who stole third, would score on an RBI groundout from senior Hunter Tackett to double Miami’s lead.
But Higginbotham (5-1) settled down and did not allow another hit after the second.
He allowed just the pair of early runs, struck out eight and walked five before being relieved by Travis Marr with one out in the eighth.
Cabezas (3-4) was cruising in the early going, having allowed just one walk and one single in his first four innings.
Things unraveled in the fifth when a dropped flyball in right but two runners in scoring position with no outs. A double from Logan Davidson tied the game, and three batters later, Williams sent an 0-1 pitch over the left field fence to push Clemson’s lead to 7-2.
The Tigers added an insurance run in the sixth on an RBI groundout.
Cabezas struck out nine in 5.2 innings. He allowed six hits – four in the fifth – and walked three across 104 pitches. Eight runs allowed was a career high.
Freshman Daniel Federman entered in the sixth and tossed 2.1 scoreless innings in relief.
Miami strung together a few singles in the ninth to push one run across and bring the score to 8-3, but couldn’t keep it going.
The Hurricanes return to Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field for a five-game homestand beginning Wednesday, April 18 against FGCU. First pitch for the contest, slated for broadcast on ACC Network Extra and WVUM 90.5 FM, is set for 6 p.m.