Hurricanes Walk Off Tar Heels, 2-1

Hurricanes Walk Off Tar Heels, 2-1

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — There was magic in the air.

On the eve of Saint Patrick’s Day, the Miami Hurricanes struck gold.

After run-ruling No. 15 North Carolina Friday, Miami just needed two swings to stun the Tar Heels Saturday.

Junior second baseman Dorian Gonzalez Jr. delivered a walk-off home run in the ninth inning, lifting the Hurricanes to a 2-1 victory at Mark Light Field.

“Finding different ways to win is the mark of a good team,” head coach J.D. Arteaga said. “Today, Rafe [Schlesinger] did an outstanding job on the mound. He gave us seven strong innings. We hit some balls hard early in the game and it came down to two huge swings from Jason [Torres] to tie the game, and Dorian, obviously, in the ninth to win.”

Gonzalez’s game-winning blast marked Miami’s second walk-off and seventh come-from-behind win this season.

“We’re a gritty team,” said Gonzalez Jr. “When teams come in here and have the lead, they should never feel safe. We’ve shown that we can come back and fight. We’re always up for the challenge.”

The Hurricanes (11-7, 4-1 ACC) conceded an early run to the Tar Heels (16-4, 3-2 ACC), as North Carolina pushed across a tally in the fourth, following a 40-minute weather delay.

Miami starter Rafe Schlesinger held the visitors there.

Schlesinger yielded only one run on five hits across a co-career-long seven innings. The junior southpaw struck out five batters on a career-high 109 pitches.

“I was really spotting up my fastball both to the arm-side and glove-side,” Schlesinger said. “I threw a few good changeups that kept them honest and mixed in my slider that had a bit more movement on it. Obviously, I was in a tough situation with the rain delay, but I viewed it as an opportunity to step back from the game and take a breather. That helped slow the game down for me.”

In the seventh, third baseman Jason Torres swung at a 3-0 fastball and deposited it over the centerfield fence. Torres’ eighth blast of the year leveled the score at 1-1, igniting life into the Hurricanes’ dugout.

Right-handed relievers Brian Walters and Nick Robert (3-0) combined to shut down North Carolina in the eighth and ninth, setting the stage for the hometown hero.

“I’ve been coming to games since I was a little kid and I’ve seen many walk-offs,” Gonzalez Jr. said. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of them, and this time I was able to be the one that delivered for the guys, so it was that much more special.”

With the victory, Miami has won seven of its last eight meetings with North Carolina, dating back to 2022.

The Hurricanes will look to complete the sweep over the Tar Heels Sunday. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. at Mark Light Field.

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