The Hurricanes won their second consecutive three-game series this weekend at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field, but baseball wasn’t the only thing on the team’s mind while facing Appalachian State.
Word spread quickly on Saturday that head coach Jim Morris underwent surgery to remove his gall bladder after suffering from stomach pain for much of the past week.
“For me there’s something missing when he’s not around,” assistant head coach J.D. Arteaga said. “It doesn’t feel the same.”
Morris did not travel with the team to face Florida Atlantic University on Wednesday night and had to leave Thursday’s game, the first in the series against Appalachian State, early due to discomfort. He did not return for the remainder of the weekend.
“He’s doing better,” said Arteaga following Saturday’s game. “He’s been resting all day so I’m sure he’s dying to get back out here.”
As for the series itself, Miami won two out of three games but at times looked undisciplined both on the field and at the plate.
On Thursday night, true freshman Bryan Radziewski earned his first collegiate victory in a 6-3 game, striking out seven batters in the process. He allowed three runs, none of which were earned, but was only able to go five innings because poor fielding extended some of his innings.
“We’re not going to be perfect. It’s part of the game,” said Radzwieski, in reference to Miami’s four errors. “I can’t let that affect me.”
On Friday night, the Canes weren’t as fortunate in a 7-5 loss. Miami couldn’t overcome it’s miscues, particularly in the top of the fourth inning when a series of wild pitches, passed balls and errors allowed Appalachian State to score three runs.
“We’re giving games away. We’ve got to learn how to win,” Arteaga said. “[I’m] waiting for these guys to figure it out, because it’s going to be a special team once we do.”
Sophomore E.J. Encinosa took the loss, while Miami native Lawrence Pardo earned the victory for the Mountaineers.
During Saturday afternoon’s rubber match, Miami played arguably its most complete game of the season.
Sophomore Eric Whaley was superb, throwing 86 pitches over seven scoreless innings in a 10-0 rout. The Canes were also flawless in the field, committing no errors.
“It was a relief to play nine innings…we put all aspects of the game together, offensively, defensively and pitching,” Arteaga said. “This game’s fun when you do things the right way.”
Miami will need to continue to play fundamentally sound baseball heading into next weekend’s series against the Florida Gators, who are the top-ranked team in the nation.
“We’re definitely going into that [series] ready to play… all of us from last year, we remember what happened,” Whaley said, mindful of Florida’s Super Regionals victory over Miami last season. “They knocked us out and we definitely want to get back at them and be on the top of our game.”
While Arteaga acknowledged that it would be tough for Morris to return for the Canes’ midweek contest at USF, he didn’t rule the veteran coach out for the Florida series.
“Knowing him I’d say yes… especially going to Gainesville,” Arteaga said. “I’d say he’d be there.”
Adam Berger may be contacted at email@example.com.