The baseball team once again took two of three games this weekend with a 14-3 win over the University of Tennessee Volunteers on Sunday afternoon in front of 2,730 fans at Mark Light Field.
The ‘Canes improved their record to 4-2 on the season as Tennessee committed an embarrassing eight errors on the afternoon.
“You always want to win the series,” Head Coach Jim Morris said. “The SEC is one of the best conferences in college baseball and it’s nice to win two series in a row against them. Today pitching was the most important thing, and we got that.”
The Hurricanes came out swinging in the bottom of the first inning. After a walk to junior Joey Hooft and a single by shortstop Ryan Braun, first baseman Jim Burt hit a ball that carried to the wall in left center field for his second triple of the year. Burt would then score on an RBI groundout by third baseman Gaby Sanchez to put the ‘Canes up 3-0 after an inning of play.
Miami starter Brandon Camardese pitched out of a huge jam in the top of the third, only yielding one run after having the bases loaded with nobody out. After a rocky start last weekend, Camardese pitched a gem in picking up his first win of the year. The southpaw pitched six innings on Sunday, taking some of the pressure off of a weary Hurricane bullpen.
“I was getting ahead of the hitters a lot more today.” Camardese said. “I think that was the main difference between this week and last week.”
Leading 5-1 in the fifth, sloppy Volunteer defense allowed the Hurricanes to capitalize. After a Braun single, a balk was charged to Tennessee starter Sean Watson. Tennessee third baseman Michael Rivera abandoned his position after the play, allowing Braun to steal third. Watson’s attempt to throw out Braun sailed past Rivera and Braun scored easily on the play.
Watson yielded to reliever Beau Massey and the onslaught continued as the Hurricanes went on to score a total of six runs in the inning to take a 10-1 lead on their way to an easy victory.
The series started off on Friday night with the ‘Canes pulling off an improbable 8-7 victory. Down by one in the bottom of the ninth, Miami rallied when outfielder Paco Figueroa hit just the second home run of his career to tie the game.
“I knew it was gone when it left the bat,” Figueroa said. “This was an important win for us.”
The next batter, Hooft, followed with a blast to deep left center field to win the game. Hooft, who has been one of Miami’s most successful hitters early on, said that he took advantage of a hittable pitch.
“I was just looking for a ball to hit into the gap,” Hooft said. “He left a fastball over the middle of the plate.”
Miami pitcher Cesar Carrillo earned his first career win for the Hurricanes.
UM dropped the second game of the series on Saturday night despite an 11 run outpouring from the Miami offense. The 14-11 loss marked the second defeat of the season, as it was apparent that the Miami bullpen was wearing thin.
With relievers George Huguet (pneumonia), Shawn Valdes-Fauli (suspension), Cesar Carrillo and Dan Touchet (fatigue) all unavailable to pitch Saturday, a young and inexperienced bullpen squandered numerous leads. Miami pitchers walked 10 batters on the night.
Catcher Erick San Pedro hit a pair of home runs in the Miami loss.
“You are never going to win a game with ten walks,” Morris said. “That’s the bottom line.”
The Hurricanes are back in action for four games this week, starting at FIU on Thursday night. Friday and Saturday night will feature the ‘Canes traveling to Homestead to face FIU and LaSalle, respectively. Miami will finish up back at Mark Light Field on Sunday night at 7 p.m. to face the University of Minnesota.
Ryan Ellis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.