The Miami Hurricanes traveled to the West Coast over the weekend looking to take two out of three games from the UCLA Bruins.
In the first two contests, the teams split a pair of nail-biting games.
Miami took Friday night’s game 3-1, as starting pitcher Carlos Gutierrez continued to shine in his new role this season as the team’s No. 1 starter. Gutierrez gave up only one run on four hits in a career high five and two-thirds innings.
“I’m very excited about the way Carlos is pitching,” said UM Head Coach Jim Morris. “He’s a guy with a good arm; he throws strikes, has a good breaking ball and holds runners. He has a quick release, fields his position well and he doesn’t beat himself.”
Freshman Yonder Alonso continued to supply the offense for the Hurricanes, knocking in two of Miami’s three runs. Alonso snapped a 1-1 tie when he doubled to right with two outs in the fourth inning. The Coral Gables High graduate added an insurance run in the eighth inning with a sacrifice fly that brought in Blake Tekotte.
Miami’s bullpen protected the lead after Gutierrez left, as Andrew Lane and Chris Perez combined for three and a third innings of shutout ball.
Saturday’s West Coast matinee began like Friday night’s matchup. Miami jumped on top 2-0 with Tommy Giles hitting a solo homerun, his third of the season. After UCLA came back to tie the game 3-3, Alonso scored on a passed ball to give Miami a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning. But Miami’s bullpen collapsed in the bottom half of the inning, surrendering four runs to the Bruins.
UM reliever Raudel Alfonso came on to start the eighth and walked Sean Smith and Chris Jensen before Eric Taylor Jr. reached on a fielder’s choice bunt to load the bases with no outs. Freshman Dennis Raben came in and hit pinch hitter Hector Ambriz to knock in Smith and tie the game. Ricky Orta gave up a run-scoring walk and a pair of RBI singles before the inning ended.
Miami starting pitcher Manny Miguelez threw seven strong innings, giving up three earned runs and three strikeouts, posting his second straight no-decision.
The ‘Canes rebounded on Sunday to clinch the series with a 5-2 victory. Starting pitcher Danny Gil improved to 1-1 on the year by pitching five innings of two-hit ball with five strikeouts and three walks.
Closer Chris Perez escaped from a bases loaded, one-out situation by inducing Sean Smith to hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the game. Perez earned his second save, tallying two and a third innings. Andrew Lane contributed one and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief.
Danny Valencia and Jemile Weeks paced the Miami offense by each going two-for-four with an RBI and run scored.
“Chris Perez got two saves for us and our starting pitchers played well,” Morris said. “I was excited. Any time you can go on the road and play a quality club like UCLA and win the series, you have to feel pretty good.”
Douglas C. Kroll can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.