Heading into this weekend’s series against the University of North Carolina, the University of Miami baseball team held an 0-6 record against ranked opponents in 2011.
With that in mind, this past weekend’s three-game series versus the number-ten Tar Heels represented a barometer test of sorts for the Hurricanes, a test that they passed with flying colors.
Miami (27-13, 15-5) took two of three games from UNC over the weekend, including a sweep of a Saturday double-header that was the result of a rainout on Friday.
It was the third straight road series in which inclement weather disrupted the weekend schedule for Miami, and the second straight weekend that Miami was forced to play two games in one day.
In Saturday’s first game, lefty Bryan Radziewski took the mound for Miami looking to silence his own critics.
Radziewski has been by and large fantastic during his freshman campaign, but came into Saturday’s start with an 0-2 record against premiere competition this season.
With the memory of ugly losses to top-ranked Florida and top-25 Georgia Tech fresh in his mind, Radziewski delivered for the Hurricanes, throwing seven strong innings of four-run ball in a game that Miami would go on to win 13-6.
Radziewski was in line for the victory, but a wild finish left him with a no decision. North Carolina tied the ballgame up at five in the bottom of the ninth, and the Hurricanes were in danger of suffering yet another heartbreaking defeat at the hands of a ranked opponent.
Miami scored eight runs in the top of the tenth inning, however, and the deficit was too much for UNC to overcome in the bottom half of the frame.
In the nightcap of the double header Miami used a combination of clutch hitting and solid starting and relief pitching to clinch the series victory over the Tar Heels.
With Miami holding a one run lead in the top of the sixth inning, sophomore Chantz Mack stepped to the plate with two on and two out, and drilled a single up the middle that scored two runs. Miami took a 5-2 lead with the timely hit, and would go on to win by a score of 5-3.
Sophomore Eric Whaley earned his sixth victory of the year during the contest, pitching six innings of two–run ball. AJ Salcines, Javi Salas and Sam Robinson pitched the final three innings for the Hurricanes, surrendering just two hits and one earned run in relief of Whaley. Robinson earned his fourth save of the year as well.
In Sunday’s series finale sophomore starting pitcher E.J. Encinosa simply didn’t have it, and Miami lost the contest 8-1. The hard throwing righty was only able to go three and two-thirds innings for Miami, surrendering five hits, five walks and five earned runs in his third loss of the season.
Despite Sunday’s defeat, Miami opened up a daunting portion of its regular season schedule in impressive fashion. On Friday Miami returns home to face in-state rival Florida State in a three game series, and will then travel to Virginia to take on the Cavaliers the following week.
Both teams are ranked in the top-25, with Virginia holding a number one ranking in more than one poll.
Adam Berger may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org