Baseball team down but not out
Hurricanes rebound to win series against the Citadel
The Miami baseball team faced adversity this weekend and beat it in the face.
After news of NCAA sanctions on Miami recruiting policies and the resignation of UM pitching coach Lazaro Collazo on Friday, the Hurricanes responded with a statement of resiliency. The ‘Canes fought back from an 8-7 loss Friday in which the team committed five errors, to defeat the Citadel 6-1 Saturday and 14-6 on Sunday.
The two victories gave Miami their third consecutive home series, and improved the team’s record to 9-3.
“We had to go out there and just dig in and play,” catcher Erick San Pedro said. “We went out there with Lazer in our heads and we knew how much he wants us to win.”
San Pedro hit his first two career home runs in the game, both of them to right field.
“Going up there against the lefty you try to hit it to right field,” San Pedro said. “The wind was blowing out to right as well and it was an added bonus for all of us.”
San Pedro was not the only Miami player hitting for power this weekend. Freshman Ryan Braun hit his third home run in as many games, as the designated hitter was bumped up to third in the lineup on Sunday.
“I just go out there and try to stay patient,” Braun said. “I haven’t done anything different. I’m just trying to make solid contact with the ball and fortunately the power is coming along with it. The wind helped us out a bit today as well.”
The ‘Canes exploded on Citadel pitching right from the get go as Miami put up an 11-1 lead after three innings including eight runs in the third.
Braun homered to lead off the inning, and after Citadel retired the next two Hurricane batters, things unraveled for the Bulldogs. Walks and errors allowed Miami to bat around in the inning, and Braun capped off the rally with an RBI triple to left. He later scored his second run of the inning on a wild pitch before Jim Burt was retired to end the 3rd frame.
“The offense really stepped it up today,” head coach Jim Morris said. “After everything that happened on Friday, I don’t think that any of us including myself had our heads in the game, but we came back strong and got these two important victories.”
Brandon Camardese recorded his second win of the season for the ‘Canes, going five innings and striking out four.
Miami started the weekend making numerous mental mistakes that the Bulldogs were able to capitalize on in order to steal the victory from the Hurricanes.
“We didn’t really play well at all on Friday for numerous reasons,” Morris said.
In addition to the loss, Miami starter Dan Touchet did not pitch due to a sore arm. Touchet underwent an MRI on Sunday morning and there is no timetable yet for his return.
“It is going to be tough without Dan,” San Pedro said. “He is our guy that goes out there on Friday and sets the tone for the whole series. We are really going to have to step it up against Tennessee next weekend without him in the rotation.”
UM pitcher J.D. Cockroft will continue to take Touchet’s spot in the rotation.
The ‘Canes rebounded Saturday, thanks to the effort from starter Vince Bongiovanni. The sophomore right-hander went 7.1 innings while striking out five batters, improving his record to 3-1 on the year.
Miami closer George Huguet also pitched for the first time this season, throwing a perfect final frame to close out Saturday’s contest.
“With George back, we don’t have a problem putting J.D. in the starting rotation,” Morris said. “He pitched well on Friday, it was the errors that hurt us. Our pitching will be fine and our team will be fine. Everybody knows they have to step it up and play Hurricanes baseball with the tough series coming up next weekend against Tennessee.”
-Ryan Ellis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org