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Hurricanes Win Series Opener Over Panthers

Hurricanes Win Series Opener Over Panthers

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The Cardiac Canes are going to Charlotte.

The Hurricanes rallied to beat the Pitt Panthers, 5-3, Thursday evening at Mark Light Field, securing their spot in the 2024 ACC Baseball Championship.

“That was a big win,” head coach J.D. Arteaga said. “It clinches a spot in the tournament and it gives us a chance to play for a regional spot. We’ve got to win the tournament obviously. It’s something we put ourselves into, but winning tonight and knowing that we’re already in, we can kind of set up a starting rotation to give us our best chance possible to win the tournament.”

With Pitt (24-27, 8-20 ACC) ahead by two through six innings, Miami (25-27, 11-17 ACC) found its spark.

Veteran shortstop JD Urso clubbed a game-tying two-run blast in the seventh, sending the first-base dugout into a frenzy.

“Hitting is contagious,” Urso said. “When we’re rolling, all nine guys are going at the same time. We’re so close as a group. When there’s a little spark, you can feel it. At the end of the night, all you need is a group of guys who will go out and fight.”

After Urso’s third career homer, three of the next four Hurricanes drew free passes to load the bases.

Two pitches later, senior first baseman Carlos Perez was hit by a pitch to put Miami in front, 4-3.

The Hurricanes tacked on an insurance tally in the eighth, which proved to be more than enough for fifth-year redshirt sophomore left-handed pitcher Myles Caba.

Caba (3) struck out all six batters he faced to lock down the win and clinch a postseason berth for Miami.

“Everything has only been getting better,” Caba said. “It’s at the right time. This time of year, we need guys to keep building. Compared to the pitcher I was two years ago, I’m so much better. I’ve been out of the game for a long time, but to do this right out of the gate after back-to-back elbow surgeries, I have no words for it.”

Junior right-hander Gage Ziehl (4-3) earned the victory with his 10th quality start in 14 outings. Ziehl struck out six batters across seven innings, surrendering three runs.

Pitt right-hander Matthew Fernandez (3-5) was tagged with the loss.

The Hurricanes will look to seal the series Friday. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.

“As you start the season, you don’t know what type of year you’re going to have, but one thing I guaranteed is that this team was going to fight,” Arteaga said. “We’ve gone through a lot of things whether it’s personal family issues to injuries and it’s just part of life, but they’re fighting just the way they promised me they were going to. We’re going to keep fighting to the very end. I’m very proud of these guys and proud of the way they came back.”

To keep up with the University of Miami baseball team on social media, follow @CanesBaseball on XInstagram and Facebook.