Hurricanes baseball sweeps Clemson with 10-5 win

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Senior shortstop Brandon Lopez (51) swings at the ball during Sunday afternoon's game against Clemson at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. Lopez went 3-for-4 with three singles Sunday helping the Canes beat Clemson 10-5. Hunter Crenian // Contributing Photographer

Senior shortstop Brandon Lopez swings at the ball during Sunday afternoon’s game against Clemson at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field. Lopez went 3-for-4 with three singles Sunday, helping the Canes beat Clemson 10-5. Hunter Crenian // Contributing Photographer

There wasn’t any late drama on Sunday afternoon, just yet another Hurricanes win against an ACC opponent. While the Canes won the first two games of the series on walk-off hits, No. 4 Miami routed No. 17 Clemson 10-5 for the sweep in front of 2,480 fans at Mark Light Field.

“That’s a very good club and we played well all weekend,” Miami Head Coach Jim Morris said. “We can have a good weekend and win two out of three, or we can have a great weekend and sweep. That was kind of the message I delivered to the team. Let’s get after these guys, let’s get a sweep.”

Clemson struck first for the third time this series with an early solo home run. Catcher Chris Okey homered in the first inning on Friday night and right fielder Seth Beer did the same on Saturday. Beer hit the first pitch he saw in the second inning on Sunday over the left-field wall for his ACC-leading 11th home run.

The Canes answered Clemson’s power with singles and by not swinging the bat at all. Thirteen of Miami’s 14 hits were singles, and the team drew six walks with an additional three players hit by pitches on Sunday. The Canes drew 20 walks and hit 30 singles over the whole series.

“Our game is to take pitches, get on base, bunt, hit some line drives, put pressure on the defense,” Morris said. “To me, on-base percentage is more important than batting average. I always got that percentage highlighted on our stats.”

Miami (20-4, 7-2) tied the game in the third on a sac fly by junior catcher Zack Collins to score sophomore center fielder Carl Chester. The Canes added two more in the bottom of the fourth on RBI singles by Chester and sophomore designated hitter Peter Crocitto.

Miami’s small ball play put Clemson away in the bottom of the fifth. The Canes hit two singles, drew three walks and were hit twice by pitches en route to a five-run inning. Collins led off the fifth with a four-pitch walk and then walked in his second at-bat of the inning with the bases loaded, scoring Crocitto for the final run of the frame.

The Canes added two more runs in the seventh and eighth innings on an RBI-single by Collins and a groundout by Crocitto that brought in junior right fielder Willie Abreu from third.

Clemson (17-6, 5-4) followed Miami’s dominant fifth inning with two runs in the sixth on two solo home runs to left field by Okey and center fielder Chase Pinder off junior starting pitcher Danny Garcia (4-2). The left-hander stayed in the game and threw a scoreless top of the seventh before being replaced by right-handed freshman Keven Pimentel, who pitched the eighth and two thirds of the ninth.

Right-handed freshman Isaiah Musa came in for the final out against Beer shortly after Pimentel gave up another solo home run to Pinder. The Tigers’ eight home runs accounted for nine of their 17 runs in the series.

Miami has won 15 of its last 17 games and is now 17-3 at home this season. The Canes next play Florida Atlantic at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Boca Raton, Florida.

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