Del Castillo Powers No. 24 Canes Past VT, 2-0
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – One swing of the bat can change everything and that’s exactly what happened inside Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field on Sunday afternoon.
Freshman star Adrian Del Castillo crushed a two-run homer that made all the difference in No. 24 Miami’s 2-0 victory over Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes (31-14, 14-10 ACC) swept the Hokies (24-21, 7-17 ACC) for the third consecutive year and won their seventh straight series against their ACC Coastal foe.
“He crushed that ball,” head coach Gino DiMare said. “That ball was a no-doubter. It was right in the wheelhouse. It looked like an off-speed pitch down and in. He golfed it out of there. He was the MVP of the game.”
Virginia Tech starter Nic Enright was absolutely dominant early on, retiring the first 10 Hurricanes in order before giving up a walk to Anthony Vilar with one out in the top of the fourth.
“Virginia Tech’s pitchers were good,” DiMare said. “Our guys were not getting the ball out of the hand, they were not seeing it well. We were chasing back pitches. Our timing wasn’t good.”
One batter later, the right-hander lost his no-hitter when Adrian Del Castillo crushed a two-run homer deep to right field that put Miami ahead, 2-0. The freshman’s sixth home run of the season ran his season RBI total up to 55 and gave Del Castillo his 13thmulti-RBI game in his debut season at Miami.
“I saw a good pitch to hit,” Del Castillo said. “For the most part, it was hanging. He threw me a slider on that pitch and I just barreled it up and it ended up going over the fence.”
Miami starter Tyler Keysor was excellent in his second start of the week. The junior right-hander allowed just three hits over a career-best 4.2 shutout innings. Keysor also struck out a career-high seven Hokies, more than doubling his previous season-high of three.
“My goal was to go out and put up zeros,” Keysor said. “Brian [Van Belle] had a lot of success yesterday, especially with burying his change-up down. They were definitely struggling hitting the change-up in the dirt. So my goal when I got two strikes was to take advantage of it and bury the pitches.”
The Hurricane bullpen picked up where Keysor left off, as Mark Mixon and JP Gates combined to throw 1.1 scoreless innings after Keysor left the game.
Gates got some assistance from Del Castillo in the top of the sixth, as Del Castillo made an outstanding defensive play in right field to rob Kerry Carpenter of an extra-base hit that could have tied the game at two. Instead, it kept runners at the corners for the Hokies and Nick Owens lined out to second base and the shutout was preserved.
“I’m starting to get used to it,” Del Castillo said of playing the outfield. “I’m starting to read the ball better and making better routes to the ball. Now, I’m getting the hang of it.”
DiMare turned the ball over to Daniel Federman in the seventh. The sophomore right-hander struck out the side in his first inning of work and followed with two more scoreless innings to earn his seventh save of the season. Federman threw a season-high three innings and matched his season-best with four strikeouts.
The back-to-back shutouts against Virginia Tech mark the second time in 2019 that Miami has blanked an opponent on consecutive days. The Hurricanes threw shutouts in each of the first two games against Florida State this season, holding the Seminoles scoreless on April 5-6.
“Happy with the sweep,” DiMare said. “With all the guy we got down…very proud of our team for guys stepping up, playing different positions or guys being inserted into the lineup who haven’t been in the lineup.”
Miami returns to action next weekend, hosting Bethune-Cookman for three games at The Light. Friday and Saturday’s games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., while Sunday’s finale is set for a 1 p.m. start.