After winning their series at North Carolina State this past weekend, the No. 12 Miami Hurricanes continued a streak of dominant play on the road that has defined the first half of their season. After losing a disappointing midweek home contest to Central Florida, the Canes traveled to Raleigh, N.C. and sandwiched two wins around an extra innings loss to improve their record to 7-1 in road games and 16-7 overall.
Junior starter Chris Hernandez allowed four runs on seven hits in only five innings of work. A 3-for-3, two RBI performance from sophomore outfielder Nathan Melendres, helped the Canes squeak out a 6-5 win. Hernandez struck out six in the back-and-forth affair, receiving his team-leading third win of the season.
The Hurricanes were dealt a devastating 11th-inning loss on Saturday after heading into the final inning with a 6-1 advantage. The Canes allowed five runs in the bottom of the ninth inning all with two outs to tie the game, wasting a fantastic start from senior Jason Santana. Santana, who was upgraded to Saturday starter earlier in the year to rest junior lefty Eric Erickson’s arm, has excelled in his new role. The righty turned in another strong performance, allowing one run in just under six innings of work.
Junior catcher Yasmani Grandal led the Canes offensively with his best hitting performance of the year. The Miami native went 4-for-5, knocked in five runs and hit his second home run of the season in a 12-hit barrage by the Canes’ lineup. Closer David Gutierrez had a nightmare of a ninth inning by allowing four hits and four earned runs.
The Canes rebounded from their heartbreaking loss on Sunday, winning the series finale 4-0. The junior lefty blanked Wolfpack hitters in 5 2/3 innings of work, allowing seven hits while striking out four. Freshmen relievers E.J. Encinosa and Eric Whaley, as they have done on countless occasions, locked down the opposition with dominant relief.
Sophomore designated hitter David Villasuso went 2-for-4 in his first start of the series. Freshman Michael Broad was a combined 0-9 in his starts before being replaced. Grandal was also 2-4 in the clincher, finishing the series with a stellar 9-for-13 clip and six RBI.
The Hurricanes will look for a midweek win at home against Florida Atlantic on Wednesday before a home conference series against Wake Forest.
Camron Ghorbi may be contacted at email@example.com.