In the past three years, the North Carolina Tar Heels have owned the University of Miami in not only football and basketball, but also in baseball.
Entering this weekend, Miami had lost eight of their last nine contests against UNC but that all changed this past weekend.
The No. 13 Miami Hurricanes opted for brooms over mops to sweep ACC Coastal division rival No. 21 North Carolina for their fifth conference series win.
After clinging on to a 7-5 victory Friday night and embarrassing UNC 11-1 Saturday night, Miami had one of their most dramatic victories in recent memory on Sunday in a rain-shortened affair.
The Canes (27-9, 14-4) bested the Tar Heels (22-16, 6-11) by scoring three runs in the final inning in soggy conditions to beat the powder blue 8-7.
The Sunday game was delayed over an hour to start and rain was off and on the entire afternoon. With the Tar Heels sporting a 7-5 advantage heading into the bottom of the eighth, the last inning to be played due to a 5:15 p.m. league-mandated curfew time, the Canes struck for three runs in a miraculous comeback for the series sweep.
“It was a huge win for us, coming back the way they came back and continuing to battle,” said head Coach Jim Morris. “Anytime you win a game in the ninth inning, it’s very emotional.”
Freshman centerfielder Zeke DeVoss hit a home run to cut the lead to 7-6 to start the eighth inning.
Freshman Frankie Ratcliff and senior Scott Lawson coaxed walks. The ensuing hitter, junior Yasmani Grandal, slapped a single up the middle to load the bases.
Sophomore Harold Martinez grounded into a 4-6-3 double play but a run scored to tie the game at 7. Two pitches later, a wild pitch was thrown to freshman Michael Broad scoring Lawson, who emphatically trotted down the third base line and slapped home plate with his right hand before jumping into the arms of his teammates.
“I just really wanted that sweep, I knew how big that was for our team,” Lawson said.
Facing one of the best pitchers in the country in the series opener, the Canes line-up came out firing in a 7-5 win.
Tar Heel righty Matt Harvey, a projected first-round pick in the upcoming MLB Draft, looked anything but dominant in his seven innings of work.
Entering the game with a conference-low ERA, Harvey was tagged for seven runs, including three homeruns, in his worst start of the season.
Grandal, continuing his recent power surge, finished 2-for-4 with three RBI in the opener. His eighth homerun of the season, an emphatic opposite field shot in the third inning, was a display of maturity and patience by the junior.
“I was kind of waiting for a fastball outside,” Grandal said.
Picking up right where they left off, the Canes clinched the series victory with an 11-1 blowout win on Saturday.
Junior lefty Eric Erickson enjoyed another impressive start for the Canes, finishing with six strikeouts and no earned runs over his five innings of work.
DeVoss, who went 3-for-4 with three runs and three stolen bases in Saturday’s win, added a clutch homerun in the top of the eighth in the dramatic series finale.
“It was amazing to sweep North Carolina,” DeVoss said. “It was an outstanding feeling.”
UM takes on Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday at 6 p.m. before a rivalry weekend against No. 8 Florida State in Tallahassee.
Camron Ghorbi may be contacted at email@example.com.