Baseball: Offense struggles in series defeat

The Miami Hurricane baseball team was overmatched against a highly ranked Atlantic Coast Conference foe. They dropped a weekend series in Charlottesville, VA, to the No. 5 University of Virginia Cavaliers, two games to none.

Following a disconcerting trend of consistent inconsistency, the ‘Canes were unable to make the offensive plays necessary to win this weekend, even while holding the Cavs to just three runs on both Friday and Saturday night. The ‘Canes put up one run on Friday night (4-1) and were shutout on Saturday (3-0), demonstrating that the ACC is a very tough place to play on the road.

The pitching was strong in all three games, led by the performances of starters Eric Erickson and Scott Maine on Friday and Saturday night, respectively. Also, making his first weekend start for the ‘Canes was former closer Enrique Garcia, who hung tough against a potent Cavalier attack on Sunday.

Offensively, the ‘Canes fell short in the first two games of the series and struggled all weekend to put the ball in play against a tough Virginia pitching that dominated the game.

Sunday was a bit of a different story, as the ‘Canes came up with hits in the clutch and once again displayed their pitching strength in a 4-2 win on getaway day.

Stars of the series were mostly on the defensive side of the ball, who were able to hold the Cavaliers within reach. Closer Danny Gil notched his second save of the season on Sunday afternoon, putting the Cavaliers down quietly in the bottom of the ninth.

Dennis Raben and Alex Koronis proved to be essential in relief in pitching the sixth, seventh and eight innings. The Hurricanes were able to secure a win that prevented a sweep in Virginia, which could have had a severe impact on the remainder of the ACC schedule.

Sunday’s win was made possible by the small ball tactics of the Hurricanes. Centerfielder Blake Tekotte was winnable to snap the ‘Canes losing streak on the road, as he doubled in a run in the third inning and scored a run later in the game after being hit by a pitch and stealing second base.

Tekotte showed why he was recently installed in the leadoff spot in the order.

Roger Tomas added an RBI double late to give the ‘Canes some breathing room and the pitchers took care of the rest.

This weekend’s series showed both the brilliance and frustration that are trademarks of this year’s team.

If the Hurricanes want to be successful throughout their ACC schedule (including Clemson next week), they need to make improvements that include hitting with runners in scoring position and putting the ball in play.

Dan Stein may be contacted at