A three-run eighth inning comeback helped Miami salvage the final game of its series against Virginia 9-8 Sunday at Mark Light Field.
Poor starting pitching put the Hurricanes into insurmountable holes on Friday and Saturday. Carlos Gutierrez and Manny Miguelez combined to give up nine earned runs in eight innings.
“I’m worried about our confidence,” said UM Head Coach Jim Morris. “It seems like we’re fighting for our lives every weekend.”
Miami held an early 2-0 lead before falling to Virginia 8-2 in Friday’s game. With two outs, Danny Valencia drove a fastball to left field for a home run. Yonder Alonso knocked in Richard O’Brien later in the inning.
Miami’s 2-0 lead would last until the sixth inning, when Virginia scored five runs. Brandon Guyer hit a two-run home run to give Virginia a 4-2 lead it would not relinquish.
Miami committed three errors, which led to two unearned runs. Two of those errors were committed by shortstop Walter Diaz, who has a team-high 11.
Jon Jay’s 34-game streak of reaching base safely was snapped.
Miguelez did not make it out of the third inning on Saturday and was relieved by Ricky Orta. Virginia took a 9-0 lead on Miami after three innings.
On Sunday, Miami and Virginia both scored an early run and the game remained tied 1-1 in the fourth. Patrick Wingfield singled in Sean Doolittle and Tom Hagan to put Virginia up 3-1.
Eddy Rodriguez responded in the bottom of the fourth with a leadoff home run.
Yonder Alonso singled, Roger Tomas reached on an error and Blake Tekotte drove in Alonso with a single.
Tomas moved to third on a sac bunt by Nick Freitas and scored on a Jay sacrifice fly, putting Miami on top 4-3.
Miami added a run in the fifth inning on a groundout by Alonso to drive in O’Brien.
Starter Scott Maine faltered in the seventh inning and Virginia scored twice to take a 6-5 lead.
After Chris Perez gave up a run in the top of the eighth, Miami scored three times in the bottom half to take the lead 8-7. Tommy Giles hit a two-run home run to tie the game. Giles did not play in the previous five games because of an oblique strain.
Perez then surrendered the lead in the top of ninth.
In the bottom of tenth, Jemile Weeks hit a walk-off single scoring Diaz.
“We have to learn from our mistakes,” Valencia said. “It’s getting late in the season to keep saying that.”
Denis Brown can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.