The Hurricanes struggled on the mound, at the plate, and in the field over the weekend.
The No.6 Miami Hurricanes dropped to 3-3 (1-2 ACC) after losing 9-6 to Virginia Tech in their series finale against the Hokies on Sunday afternoon. As a result the Hurricanes lost their first ACC series of the season and now face three straight series against ranked opponents over their next three weekends.
Miami got out to a lead in the first inning when Anthony Vilar singled and Yohandy Morales followed him with a two-run homerun that was his first as a Hurricane. The Hokies quickly responded though, with an RBI-single in the second and a homerun from Fritz Genther that tied the game at two in the third.
Both teams stayed quiet offensively until the fifth. After Yohandy Morales reached base on an error, a single and a walk loaded the bases with two outs for Christian Del Castillo. Del Castillo came through with a two-RBI single that gave Miami a 4-2 lead.
The Hokies responded in the sixth inning. Two hits and a walk loaded the bases for Virginia Tech before a two-RBI single tied the game back up again. Miami responded with two RBI-singles from Anthony Vilar and Yohandy Morales to take the lead again in the bottom of the sixth.
Virginia Tech responded again in the seventh. JP Gates entered the game to pitch for Miami and walked the first two batters he faced before being replaced by Ben Wanger. Wanger allowed a single that loaded the bases and then Kevin Madden hit another two-RBI single that tied the game at six. A wild pitch advanced the runners and after Jordan Dubberly entered the game for Miami he allowed an RBI groundout that gave the Hokies the lead at 7-6.
Virginia Tech put the game away with a two-run homerun off of the bat of Gavin Cross in the eighth. Miami’s bullpen allowed five runs on Sunday afternoon and walked four batters and allowed five hits. The Hurricanes offense finally had a good day at the plate, but saw three separate leads slip away throughout the game.
Miami did not play well over the entire weekend. The Hurricanes had just 13 hits for the weekend heading into Sunday afternoon and then saw the pitching staff struggle to finish out the third game of the series. As Miami turns its’ attention to their next three weekend series against NC State, Wake Forest, and Florida State, all of which are ranked, there are significant questions to be answered. The Hurricanes lineup, considered one of the best in the country heading into the season, struggled against a strike-throwing Virginia Tech pitching staff with depth in left-handed pitching. Defensively the Hurricanes continue to struggle, with another two errors today, and questions surrounding the starting rotation and bullpen continued to go unanswered.
The Hurricanes face a schedule that sees them play 13 ACC opponents. Miami will have to focus more on the fundamentals and play better in all three phases to live up to the potential they have this season.
Winning Pitcher: Jaison Heard (1-0, 2.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)
Losing Pitcher: Ben Wanger (1-1, 0.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K)
Save: Shane Connolly (3)
(Box Score posted when available)
@ No.13 NC State
Date & Time: Friday, March 5, 3:00 p.m.
Hurricanes Starter: Daniel Federman (0-2, 7.84 ERA)
NC State Starter: Evan Justice (0-1, 7.94 ERA)
Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM
Television: ACC Network Extra