After an embarrassing loss on Sunday, the Miami Hurricanes’ (22-17, 8-10 Atlantic Coast Conference) season took a turn for the worst, as they were outplayed in a 3-2 loss to the North Florida Ospreys (16-25, 6-9 Atlantic Sun Conference) on Wednesday night at Mark Light Field.
Miami struggled offensively all night and continued to make mistakes in the field that ultimately decided the outcome.
“This was a disturbing loss because we were not ready to play offensively at all,” Head Coach Jim Morris said. “We were not ready to play mentally and we showed no intensity in pregame and during the game. We have to swing the bat better.”
Lefthander Manny Miguelez (0-2) lost his second game of the season, but pitched well enough to win. Miguelez tossed six innings, allowing four hits, two earned runs while striking out four.
“Manny threw the ball well tonight,” Morris said. “We have to score some more runs for him and whoever is pitching.”
Miguelez’s wildness proved costly when he walked back-to-back batters to open up the top of the seventh inning. Catcher Richard O’Brien then made a curious decision throwing to third base on a sacrifice bunt attempt, allowing all runners to reach base safely.
Reliever David Gutierrez was then forced to inherit a bases loaded, no-out jam. After a strikeout, a potential double-play was bobbled by third baseman Mark Sobolewski, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
Gutierrez would allow the decisive run to score in the eighth inning, making an errant throw to second base on a sacrifice bunt attempt. With runners on the corners and no outs, a fielder’s choice allowed the eventual winning run to score.
North Florida starting righthander Antonio Franzese (1-3) stifled batters all game, throwing seven dominating innings, giving up two hits and an earned run. Franzese retired the side in order in four out of the first five innings.
Coming into the game, opposing teams were hitting .311 against Franzese, who made his first career start.
Miami’s only player to reach base before the sixth inning was rightfielder Dennis Raben, who hit his ninth round tripper of the season. Raben has hit a home run in each of the past four games.
Second baseman Jemile Weeks, who had missed 11 games because of a strained groin muscle, provided Miami with some life after a pinch-hit home run in the eighth inning to cut the deficit to a run.
“It felt great getting back out there,” Weeks said. “I just knew I had to be patient, stay comfortable and hit the ball hard.”
Morris said the Hurricanes are still going to be very cautious with the second baseman.
“He’s still not 100 percent or he would be playing all the time,” Morris said. “It’s a day to day thing.”
UM stranded a runner at second base in each of the final three innings with a chance to tie the score. Designated hitter Gus Menendez would strike out to end the game.
The Hurricanes will have to respond this weekend against Virginia Tech, playing in what will be a very difficult environment after the tragedy that took place on Monday.
“I do not know what to expect, Morris said. “It will be interesting how our players handle it.”
Alex Kushel may be contacted at email@example.com.