No. 11 Miami Drops Series Opener to No. 16 Duke

No. 11 Miami Drops Series Opener to No. 16 Duke

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The 11th-ranked University of Miami baseball team fell to the No. 16 Duke Blue Devils, 5-3, Thursday evening at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.

“We didn’t swing the bat like we would like to,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “We chased a lot of pitches up, a lot of fastballs up, if I recall, and then took some hanging breaking balls. Duke’s got a good team, good pitching, some good arms, so probably going to be lower scoring games. You have to turn the page. We lost the first game and we have got to find a way to even it up tomorrow.”

Duke (35-17, 16-11 ACC) scored in each of the final four frames to overcome an early two-run deficit.

The Blue Devils’ rally would be more than enough for the dominant Duke bullpen.

Set-up man Fran Oschell III (4-0) earned the victory in relief, racking up three strikeouts.

Closer James Tallon (11) put on the finishing touches, retiring all five batters he faced.

Miami (35-18, 16-12 ACC) mounted a pair of home runs against the stingy Duke pitching staff, which entered the series with the nation’s fourth-lowest ERA.

But the Hurricanes didn’t have much to show for their two big flies.

“That’s baseball,” third baseman Yohandy Morales said. “It’s going to happen. We just have to get past it and focus on tomorrow.”

Junior right fielder Zach Levenson launched a two-run homer to give Miami an early lead in the second.

Levenson’s 11th home run of the season was the Hurricanes’ 100th blast of the season, as Miami reached the century mark for only the fifth time in program history.

After Duke shortstop Alex Mooney smacked a solo shot to answer in the fourth, Morales responded immediately.

The junior slugger socked a missile over the left-center field fence to push the lead to 3-1.

The two homers would be the only blemish for Duke starter Alex Gow, who received a no-decision following five innings of work.

Fifth-year senior Carlos Lequerica (4-1) was tagged with the loss after surrendering two runs across the seventh and eighth.

The Hurricanes will look to even the series Friday at Mark Light Field. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.

“We have to pitch better, hit better and do more than we did today,” Morales said. “Today’s over and we just have to focus on tomorrow.”

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