Walters Shines in Series-Securing Win over Pitt

Walters Shines in Series-Securing Win over Pitt

by Josh White

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — At the end of last season, Andrew Walters sat down with head coach Gino DiMare.

Despite being one of the most-coveted pitchers in the 2022 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Walters expressed interest in returning to Miami.

He had one request: To pitch more.

With the series on the line Sunday, Walters recorded the final eight outs to lock down a 5-4 win for the 11th-ranked Hurricanes over the Pitt Panthers at Charles L. Cost Field.

“When he’s out there, my goodness,” said DiMare. “It’s amazing how certain pitchers can do that. He has that demeanor. He’s the coolest guy on the field. He has ice in his veins.”

With the tying tally on first in the seventh inning, Walters was called upon.

Miami’s closer punched out the next two Panthers (22-27, 10-15 ACC) to end the threat.

After a 1-2-3 eighth, Walters worked around a two-out single to put on the finishing touches in the ninth.

“Nobody is surprised at what he does,” said sophomore Dorian Gonzalez Jr. “We all have complete trust in him. He’s the best closer in the country.”

Walters’ ninth save of the year gave the Hurricanes (34-17, 16-11 ACC) a crucial series win, as Miami vaulted to the top of the ACC Coastal Division with three conference games remaining.

“I have a job to do. I went right after guys and made them swing the bat.” said Walters, who also locked down the final five outs in the Hurricanes’ 9-8 victory Friday. “It’s a big win for us heading down the final stretch.”

While DiMare named Walters player of the game, Gonzalez Jr. was a deserving candidate as well.

The Miami native came off the bench to plate the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

“It says a lot about him,” DiMare said. “Everybody wants to play. It’s difficult. He started all of last year and he’s handled himself great. He hasn’t pouted or complained. I’m sure glad he got an opportunity there and he took advantage of the situation.”

Fourth-year redshirt sophomore right-hander Alejandro Torres (4-0) earned the victory in relief, while Pitt hurler Matthew Fernandez (1-4) was tagged with the loss.

In the win, third baseman Yohandy Morales tallied three knocks, including a game-tying single in the fifth, to push his average to .402. Freshman Blake Cyr drove in three runs in a multi-hit effort.

Following their seventh ACC series win, the Hurricanes conclude their regular season road slate Tuesday when Miami meets crosstown foe FIU. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at FIU Baseball Stadium.

“Pitt is a tough team to play,” DiMare said. “They’re scrappy and feisty. They have some guys who can swing the bat. We didn’t play our best baseball this weekend, but I feel good about getting the series.”

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