The Miami Hurricanes baseball team relied on strong starting pitching and newcomers to kick off the season with a series sweep of the Cincinnati Bearcats.
The Hurricanes had a two-run first inning and held on for a 3-1 victory on Friday.
Eric Erickson picked up where he left off last season, pitching six strike outs and allowing only one run on four hits in six innings of work. Third baseman Mark Sobolewski went 3-for-4 with an RBI, and freshman Joey Terdoslavich picked up an RBI single in the first plate appearance of his career.
Redshirt junior closer Carlos Gutierrez returned to the mound after undergoing Tommy John surgery last season. Gutierrez walked two batters in the ninth inning but closed the game with a strikeout for his first save of the season.
On Saturday, the Hurricanes rallied from 4-1 down with timely hitting from a pair of second-year players to come away with a 6-4 win. Sophomore Jason Hagerty changed the complexion of the game with one swing of the bat, a three-run homer to right that marked his first career round-tripper. With the score tied up 4-4 in the eighth, outfielder Dave Dinatale unloaded a solo home run to put the Hurricanes up for good.
“It was good to come through for the team after having a tough night last night,” said DiNatale, who was 0-for-4 Friday. “I’m just glad coach kept me in the lineup and gave me an opportunity to contribute.”
The Hurricanes tacked on another run and Gutierrez pitched the ninth for his second save in two chances.
“It was big win for us,” Coach Jim Morris said. “It was a good comeback for our team. Our bullpen was solid and if you are going to win big, you need a solid bullpen.”
Miami closed the series with an offensive outburst late in the game for an 8-0 victory yesterday. The Hurricanes lineup was stagnant in the first four innings until second baseman Jemile Weeks hit a key two-run double in the fifth with two outs to break a scoreless tie. Junior college transfer Adan Severino broke the game open with a two-run homer to right in his first career start.
“Today definitely helped me out a lot confidence-wise,” said Weeks, who is fully healthy after a groin injury last season.
The Hurricanes have to be pleased with the effort from its bullpen for the most part, which looks much improved from last season. Sophomore RHP Kyle Bellamy was dominant in three innings of work and struck out five batters. Sophomore RHP Michael Rudman threw two scoreless innings Saturday to keep the game tied, while junior RHP Jason Santana also threw an effective three innings out of the pen without allowing a run.
The Hurricanes play an exhibition game Tuesday against the Florida Marlins before welcoming the University of Florida Gators to Mark Light Field next weekend.
Alex Kushel may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.