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Canes Blank Pitt to Clinch Series, 5-0

By David Villavicencio

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Strong pitching and timely hitting helped the Miami Hurricanes secure a series win over Pittsburgh Saturday night.

The Canes (10-4, 2-0 ACC) got another excellent outing from Chris McMahon, while a three-RBI showing from Adrian Del Castillo helped propel Miami’s offense to a 5-0 win over the visiting Panthers (10-4, 0-2 ACC) before 2,605 fans at Mark Light Field.

“It’s huge. The first ACC opponent, to win the first two games is big,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “I’m happy about that but maybe even more happy that we played a solid game.”

Miami’s bats got going in the bottom of the third, as Luis Tuero singled to open the inning and extend his hitting streak to seven games. Tony Jenkins followed with a walk and Jordan Lala ripped an RBI double to drive home Tuero.

“Our offense was obviously going through a funk and it’s starting to slowly turn around,” DiMare said. “I’m certainly happy with what we’re doing right now.”

Anthony Vilar followed with an RBI groundout that pushed home Jenkins and Del Castillo doubled home Lala to cap the three-run inning for the Canes. Two innings later, Del Castillo pushed home Lala with a two-out single through the left side that beat a Pittsburgh shift playing the sophomore catcher to pull.

“I think our whole team was pressing earlier,” Del Castillo said. “The other day we had fun as a team during early work and it loosened us up. You’re looking at the result now.”

Miami mounted a rally in the bottom of the seventh, as Jenkins and Vilar singled to put runners at the corners with one out. Pitt head coach Mike Bell pulled starter Mitch Myers in favor of left-hander Adam Bloebaum to face Del Castillo and Miami’s catcher drove in his third RBI of the game, hitting a sacrifice fly to left that sent home Jenkins.

“It felt awesome,” Del Castillo said. “My goal is to try and get as many RBIs for our pitchers. Our pitchers didn’t need as many runs, but security of runs is always the best thing.”

McMahon was outstanding in his fourth start of the year, earning the win to improve his record to 3-0. The junior right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing just five hits while striking out eight Panthers. McMahon was nearly unhittable for most of his start, retiring 13 consecutive batters from the final of the second inning through the end of the sixth.

“I felt great,” McMahon said. “After that second inning, I told myself ‘you have to start getting ahead of guys.’ First inning or two, I fell behind guys and made it a little harder on myself. I started attacking them and that’s how it went the rest of the game.”

JP Gates followed McMahon on the mound and struck out three batters over the final two innings to wrap up the Hurricanes’ second shutout win of the season.

“Every game is important, especially ACC play that’s really important,” Del Castillo said. “These are must-win games,” Del Castillo said. “We have two under our belt. Tomorrow, we have to come out and play.”

Miami and Pitt will close out this weekend’s series on Sunday afternoon. Sophomore right-hander Slade Cecconi will toe the rubber for the Hurricanes, while the Panthers will start junior right-hander Matt Gilbertson. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.