The University of Miami shut out the Pittsburgh Panthers 3-0 at Mark Light Stadium on Tuesday night. The win marked the fifth victory against the Panthers in Hurricanes baseball history.
Sophomore Ricky Orta took the mound as starting pitcher after proving himself against Northeastern last week. He walked the first pitcher of the night but quickly became more comfortable and threw forcefully through six innings.
“When I first got onto the field, I had butterflies since it was only my second game pitching,” Orta said. “After I threw the first pitch I was myself again, which is what happened last time.”
Head Coach Jim Morris indicated that Orta would find his way into the weekend pitching rotation as a result of his performance.
Offensively, the ‘Canes were strongest in the opening inning. Sophomore Jon Jay and junior Danny Figueroa each scored a run off a double hit by sophomore Danny Valencia. Valencia was able to advance to third base as a result of an error in the outfield made by Pitt.
“With Jay, playing to win is automatic,” Morris said. “He takes full advantage of being a player that can hit, bunt, run and get on base in a lot of different ways that are met with success.”
In the bottom of the second, freshman Walter Diaz made a fatal mistake in an attempt to steal second that cost the team an out.
The Hurricane defense showed significant improvements from last weekend’s series against the North Carolina State Wolfpack. Five double plays were made during the game, giving the ‘Canes the edge and preventing Pittsburgh from scoring.
Scoreless innings continued until the bottom of the sixth. Valencia found a hole in the outfield and was able to get on third. Sophomore Roger Tomas added an RBI to bring in Valencia before stealing second.
Junior Andrew Lane relieved Orta in the seventh. Senior Vince Bongiovanni came in as pitcher during the eighth inning and remained until Danny Gil stepped in to close the game. Gil struggled slightly, hitting one batter and walking another, but managed to finish the game without allowing Pittsburgh the chance to score.
So far this season, the Hurricanes have seemed to thrive off a busy schedule that constantly keeps them in action.
“Baseball is a game meant to be played every day. To become better and learn how to play in this game, you actually have to be in the game,” Morris said. “In practice you can only work on mechanics. I’d like to think a game is much more fun.”
After having their Wednesday night game against Quinnipiac cancelled due to bad weather, the ‘Canes will host the Duke Blue Devils in a three-game ACC series beginning tonight at Mark Light Stadium.
“Duke is going to try to come in and take one from us because we’re a big name program,” Valencia said. “If we continue to play our game we’ll be fine. It’s about keeping the momentum going.”
Stacey Arnold can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.