Offense explodes as Hurricanes take two of three from Virginia

The baseball team discovered that it was indeed human Sunday at Mark Light Field after letting the third game of its series slip away to the Virginia Cavaliers. The ‘Canes were up 3-2 before yielding two runs in the top of the ninth to lose 4-3. The loss is just the ninth of the year for the Hurricanes.

“You always have a bad taste in your mouth after losing the Sunday game,” Head Coach Jim Morris said. “We had a chance for the sweep and to move up in the polls, but the loss sets us back to a point where we probably won’t move up this week.”

Miami played well but a brief mental lapse in the last few innings was all it took for UVA to capitalize and steal one away from the ‘Canes, who had otherwise dominated the entire weekend.

The ‘Canes jumped out on top in the bottom of the first. Following a Jim Burt walk, Brian Barton was hit by a pitch. Third baseman Gaby Sanchez followed with an RBI single to put Miami up 1-0.

The same part of the lineup struck again in the bottom of the third inning when Burt doubled and Barton drove him in with a single to center field to put the ‘Canes up 2-0. Barton filled in at center field in the absence of injured Paco Figueroa.

The Cavaliers mounted a two-out rally in the top of the fifth after scoring a run, but Miami right fielder Richard Giannotti quickly put out the fire with a full-extension diving catch to end the inning.

“We just have to keep picking each other up,” Giannotti said. “We all know what it is like to have a bad day and you just have to go out there the next day and keep focused.”

Starter Brandon Camardese ran into some trouble in the top of the seventh. He loaded the bases before reliever Alex Blanco took over. The Cavaliers then scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly before reliever George Huguet entered the game and promptly picked off shortstop Mark Reynolds at first base to end the inning and stop the bleeding with the score knotted at two.

The ‘Canes team effort was not enough, however, as UVA starter Joe Koshansky was a force on the mound all game long in keeping Miami scoring to a minimum, something his colleagues could not accomplish on Friday and Saturday.

Miami got right down to business Friday night with an 8-0 blanking of the Cavaliers.

Starter J.D. Cockroft was nearly flawless in the win and a team effort on offense put the ‘Canes on cruise control throughout.

The Hurricanes were able to pick up the slack all weekend long despite the lingering injuries of shortstop Ryan Braun and Figueroa.

“Paco [Figueroa] will probably be out another four weeks or so if I had to guess,” said Morris. “Braun’s injury is day to day; we’ll see if he can play next week.”

On Saturday, Miami showed no mercy as it pummeled the Cavs 22-3 with starter Cesar Carrillo pitching five innings to improve to 7-0 on the year with a 2.98 ERA.

A slew of hits led the Miami attack with a myriad of players contributing for the Hurricanes. Junior Brendan Katin went 3-3 with three RBI, which included a three-run bomb that has not landed yet. The home run was his sixth of the year.

Despite the Sunday loss, the ‘Canes improved their season record to 30-9 with the two victories this week.

Miami will face-off against Coastal Carolina next weekend. Games are scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Mark Light Field.

Ryan Ellis can be contacted at