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Miami Falls in Series Finale at No. 17 Pitt

by David Villavicencio

PITTSBURGH – The Miami Hurricanes dropped the series finale at No. 17 Pitt on Sunday, 12-5.

The No. 20 Canes (17-11, 10-10 ACC) led early before the Panthers (17-10, 12-9 ACC) scored 11 unanswered runs over the middle three innings to take the third game of the weekend series.

“We just didn’t do a good job of shutting it down,” head coach Gino DiMare said. “They got the big hits. Eight of their 12 runs were with two outs.”

Things got off to a rocky start for Miami right-hander Jordan Dubberly, as Pitt loaded the bases on a base hit and a pair of walks. But the Hurricanes’ starter struck out the next two batters before inducing an inning-ending flyout to escape the jam unscathed.

The Hurricanes rewarded their starter with a big inning to the top of the second. Christian Del Castillo sparked the rally with a leadoff double in the right-centerfield gap. Two batters later, Alex Toral’s RBI single up the middle sent Del Castillo home to put Miami ahead, 1-0.

Later in the inning, true freshman Dominic Pitelli crushed a three-run bomb off Pitt starter Stephen Hansen, giving Miami a four-run lead after just two turns to bat.

“We’ve done that this year where we scored runs early and then didn’t do much the rest of the game,” DiMare said. “We’re just not playing very good baseball as a team and I take responsibility for that, bottom line.”

Pitt put together a two-out rally in the fourth, plating a pair of runners on a single thru the right side by leadoff man Sky Duff that cut the Miami lead in half, 4-2. Nico Popa followed with a two-run homer to right that evened the score at 4 and marked the end of the afternoon for Dubberly.

Lefty Spencer Bodanza got Kyle Hess to pop out to the catcher, ending the fourth and Miami turned the ball over to freshman Alejandro Rosario. The right-hander was scratched from his Friday start after he woke up feeling sick to his stomach, but he looked strong retiring the side in order in the fifth.

Pitt rallied in the sixth against Rosario, loading the bases with one out before a two-run single from Popa gave the Panthers a two-run lead. Hess followed with a sacrifice fly to center that put Pitt ahead, 7-4.

The big inning continued when a two-out error at third by Yohandy Morales extended the frame and Pitt followed with a walk to load the bases before Bryce Hulett hit a grand slam that gave the Panthers a seven-run lead and knocked Rosario out of the game.

“It’s disappointing,” DiMare said. “Obviously, we couldn’t turn two and the ball flies out of here and they got the big hits. They got the ball up in the air and knocked it out. You’ve got to give them credit.”

The Canes added a run in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Jordan Lala, but Ron Washington Jr. led off the bottom of the eighth with a solo homer off Carson Palmquist to bring the lead back to seven runs.

Miami is back in action Wednesday night, welcoming FGCU to Mark Light Field for a 6 p.m. game.