The baseball team had to overcome several deficits at Mark Light Field last weekend against No. 6 North Carolina.
Miami entered the seventh inning behind in all three games, but managed to pull out one victory. After falling short in a few come-from-behind attempts earlier in the season, the Hurricanes were able to win their first game when trailing after six innings when they defeated UNC 9-7 Saturday night.
Tommy Giles led Miami offensively, going 4-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
“If anyone is going to carry this team, I want it to be me,” Giles said.
Miami starter Manny Miguelez struggled and was relieved in the third. After three innings the score was tied at four.
Ricky Orta began the fourth inning for Miami, allowing a leadoff single to Reid Fronk. Two batters later, Josh Horton homered to give North Carolina a 6-4 lead.
Miami responded with a run in the bottom of the fourth and a Giles home run in the fifth to tie the game at six.
In the bottom of the seventh, Miami trailed 7-6. Valencia started off the inning with a walk, forcing North Carolina to bring in its closer, Andrew Carignan.
Giles got his final hit of the night, a double down the right field line, scoring Valencia. O’Brien knocked in Giles, the go-ahead run, on a single to give Miami an 8-7 lead.
North Carolina threatened to regain the advantage in the seventh. With two on and two out, Miami closer Chris Perez relieved Danny Gil and struck out Chad Flack to end the inning. In Perez’s 2.1 innings of work, he allowed one walk and struck out five of the eight batters he faced.
“We just needed shutout innings,” Perez said. “I’m not just a closer; I’m whatever they need me to be.”
O’Brien’s two-homerun game on Friday was the first for a Hurricane since April 9, 2005. However, his four-RBI performance was not enough, as Miami lost the series opener 8-7.
“I wish it would have counted,” O’Brien said. “I wish we got the win.”
North Carolina scored at least one run in the first six innings of the game. After six, North Carolina was up 8-3.
Tar Heel starter Andrew Miller earned the win, pitching six innings.
The Hurricanes attempted a comeback by scoring four runs in the seventh inning, capped off by the second two-run home run on the night for O’Brien. Miami would yield to Carignan in the final two innings.
“If you score seven runs against a team like this you have to win tahe game,” said Head Coach Jim Morris.
Scott Maine did not fare much better in Miami’s 9-6 loss on Sunday. Maine was unable to complete the fifth inning and left Miami in an 8-2 hole.
The Hurricanes staged yet another comeback attempt in the fifth inning with a two-run homer by Yonder Alonso, which helped cut the deficit to 8-6.
North Carolina went on to score an insurance run in the eighth to secure the series win.
“We’re still [tied for]first in our division, that’s one thing we got to keep in mind,” Morris said. “It’s not getting any easier but that’s where we’re at.”
Denis Brown can be contacted at email@example.com.