The baseball team entered its toughest road test of the season at Georgia Tech with hopes of solidifying its place among the nation’s elite programs, but the Hurricanes laid an egg in Friday’s series opener, losing 17-4 at Russ Chandler Stadium. The ‘Canes rebounded nicely, however, with a 9-7 comeback win on Saturday.
Georgia Tech catcher Mike Nickeas hit a grand slam in the first inning, and the Yellow Jackets never looked back. Starter Dan Touchet had his worst outing of the season, giving up nine runs in 4.1 innings of work.
Yellow Jackets’ right-hander Brian Burks handcuffed the Hurricanes for five innings before giving up four runs in the sixth. His performance evened his record at 2-2, scattering eight hits over 6.2 innings.
Georgia Tech jumped out to an early lead with a RBI single off the bat of Wes Hodges in the bottom half of the first inning. Things got even worse for the Hurricanes in the first, trailing 1-0, Touchet loaded the bases with a walk and a hit batter before surrendering the aforementioned grand slam to Nickeas.
After Touchet settled down and cruised through the second, third and fourth innings, the Yellow Jackets once again hit the West Palm Beach native hard. The decisive blow was a bases-loaded, two-run double down the left-field line by Steven Blackwood that staked Georgia Tech to a 7-0 lead.
Miami tried to make things interesting in the sixth inning with Jim Burt’s sixth home run of the season, a three-run shot to left field. Brian Barton followed with a double down the left-field line and scored on a RBI single by Gaby Sanchez to pull the Hurricanes within 11-4.
Tech added its 12th run on a throwing error by Chris Perez in the sixth inning and tacked on five more in the seventh inning.
Saturday’s contest was a completely different story for the Hurricanes, who have done a solid job of avoiding consecutive poor performances throughout the season.
With the win, Danny Gil improved to 4-0 on the season, pitching 2.2 innings and allowing only one run and one hit. John Goodman took the loss for Georgia Tech.
UM senior George Huguet came on to record the final six outs and record his 38th career save to break Rick Raether (1984-86) school record. The save was Huguet’s seventh of the season, facing only seven hitters in two innings.
Trailing 6-1, Barton doubled home Miami’s second run of the game in the sixth inning, scoring Jon Jay, who had drawn a walk. Ryan Braun followed with his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot down the right field line.
Miami took its first lead of the game with a five-run seventh inning that was highlighted by Barton’s go-ahead double down the right field line that scored two runs. The Hurricanes pounded out five hits in the inning.
Eric Kalis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.