For the first time since 1993, the Miami Hurricanes have been swept at home twice this season, losing to Clemson over the weekend at Mark Light Field.
Mental mistakes plagued Miami in its 8-6 loss on Friday night. The biggest of these mistakes came in the fourth inning.
After a two-run homer earlier in the inning by Adrian Casanova, UM starter Carlos Gutierrez caught Brad Chalk off first base. Gutierrez made the pick off throw and Chalk took off for second. Chalk was able to beat the throw by first basemen Yonder Alonso, which would have been the third out of the inning.
On the next pitch, Taylor Harbin hit a two run home run off the scoreboard in left and Clemson extended its lead to 7-4.
“We had the wrong guy covering second and Yonder lobbed the ball,” UM Head Coach Jim Morris said. “There were two mental mistakes on that one play.”
Jemile Weeks’ hitting streak of 16 games came to an end. Weeks went 0-3 with a run scored and finished tied with Jim Maler for the longest streak by a freshman at Miami.
“The streak is a good streak,” Weeks said. “I got the 16-game hitting streak, it ended tonight, but the big thing was that we lost to a team I thought we could beat.”
With the bases loaded in the ninth, Clemson Head Coach Jack Leggett got an important insurance run by pulling a trick play. Travis Storrer took a big lead off second after a pitch by Chris Perez and fell down. Miami catcher Eddy Rodriguez threw to second and Andy D’Alessio took off for home and scored the final run for Clemson.
The mistake theme carried over to Saturday’s loss. Clemson won 6-2 despite committing four errors.
“They outplayed us,” Morris said. “We didn’t capitalize on their mistakes. They’re a veteran club and they made us pay for every mistake.”
Saturday starter Manny Miguelez kept UM in the game until the eighth inning. Miami was down 3-2 with Chalk on first. Harbin bunted a ball that Miguelez fielded but threw past Weeks into right field, allowing Chalk to move to third with no outs. After a sacrifice fly scored Chalk, D’Alessio made Miami pay with his second home run of the game.
Miami had a chance to tie the score in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Alonso came to bat with the bases loaded, but he struck out swinging on a 2-2 pitch from lefty specialist Daniel Moskos.
Clemson finished the sweep in convincing fashion on Sunday. The Hurricanes allowed eight runs in the first inning en route to a 14-1 loss. Miami starter Scott Maine lasted one-third of an inning while being charged with seven runs.
“It’s a wake-up call,” Morris said. “You better get better in this league. There are some outstanding clubs in this league, and Clemson isn’t necessarily the best of them.”
Denis Brown can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.