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Canes Fall in Game 2 at UNC

by David Villavicencio

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – For the second time in three hours, Miami had the tying run on base in the ninth inning against North Carolina. But the Hurricanes could not bring him around to score, falling 6-5.

The Canes (21-13, 13-12 ACC) made another late rally against the Tar Heels, but could not finish the job in the second game of a Friday doubleheader inside Boshamer Stadium.

“You have to bounce back. You can’t pack it in. We’ve got to keep battling,” head coach Gino DiMare said. “We know we’re not playing consistent baseball. This has kind of been the way it’s been all year. We started out goo and we had some struggles and we played well and we had some win streaks. North Carolina is playing good right now but, at the end of the day, we need to be able to play better baseball as a team.”

Trailing by a run after a three-run eighth, Miami got the tying run on base in the ninth when Dominic Pitelli worked a one-out walk against reliever Nik Pry. But the next two batters struck out, stranding PItelli at first and leaving Miami on the short end of both games on Friday.

“I thought we battled in both games very well, but we’ve got to play better baseball,” DiMare said. “Too many mistakes. We left a ton of guys on base. Starters have to pitch deeper into games. All around, the team has got to be more consistent. We’re too up-and-down right and we’ve got to figure it out.”

After playing from behind for most of Game 1, the Hurricanes took an early lead against UNC starter Shawn Rapp. Leadoff hitter Jordan Lala laced the first pitch of the game for a base hit to right and stole second to get in scoring position. After advancing to third on a groundout, Lala scored on a Yohandy Morales sacrifice fly that gave Miami its first lead of the day.

But momentum would shift toward the Tar Heels, as Rapp retired 13 straight batters from the second inning through two outs in the fifth. The strong pitching gave Carolina a chance to rally back and the Tar Heels did just that.

UNC tied the game in the third, as Angel Zarate’s two-out single to right pushed in second baseman Colby Wilkerson to square the score at 1.

Two innings later, they took the lead when freshman Max Horvath hit his first-career homer. The two-run shot off Miami starter Jordan Dubberly put North Carolina ahead, 3-1. The Tar Heels added on with an RBI double by Angel Zarate, driving in Caleb Roberts to give UNC a three-run advantage.

After lefty Spencer Bodanza came in and struck out Danny Serretti, Justice Thompson singled off reliever Andrew Walters, sending home Zarate to cap the four-run bottom of the fifth.

The Tar Heels loaded the bases against Walters in the sixth before Anthony Arguelles walked in a run to make it 6-1. Christian Del Castillo robbed Zarate of multiple RBI, laying out to snare a sinking line drive that ended the inning and stranded three UNC runners.

Del Castillo led off the top of the seventh with a base hit and scored on an RBI double to left by Alex Toral that made it 6-2 and ended Rapp’s first career-start after six-plus innings. Pry struck out the side, stranding Toral and stymieing Miami’s momentum.

The Hurricanes got a two-out RBI from Adrian Del Castillo in the eighth, as the designated hitter smacked a double to left that pushed home Morales to bring Miami within three. Christian Del Castillo followed with a two-run bomb to right, cutting the UNC lead to one, 6-5

Miami and North Carolina have Saturday off and will resume the series Sunday at noon.