Barrage of errors erases chance of series sweep

Freshman Esteban Tresgallo tags out a Maryland baserunner during Sunday's game. Zach Beeker//The Miami Hurricane

While the Canes were hoping to bring out the brooms on Sunday afternoon, any chance of a sweep went straight through their legs.

After taking the first two games of the series against the Terrapins, a combination of Hurricane errors and shutdown pitching helped Maryland topple Miami (19-5, 7-2 ACC) on Sunday afternoon, 6-4.

“The game was very discouraging to watch” head coach Jim Morris said of the team’s six errors in Sunday’s game. “We played terrible defense, made some mental mistakes. We didn’t come out and play the game the way we’ve been playing it. We didn’t deserve to win.”

Miami got off to a quick start on Sunday afternoon, scoring a run in each of the first four innings off Terrapins starter Brett Harman.

Two consecutive bunt singles by Tyler Palmer and Dale Carey got the hitting started for the Canes in the first frame when, after a sacrifice bunt by Peter O’Brien, Brad Fieger was able to drive Palmer in on an RBI single.

“Palmer and Carey are both drag-bunt guys,” shortstop Jarred Mederos said. “They saw how big the pitcher was and how slow he was getting off the mound so we thought we could get the guys over.”

The Hurricanes were able to add two more runs before Maryland struck back with two of their own in the fourth. Carey added a run off a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2, but the Terrapins tied it up in the fifth.

It remained a tie game until the top of the seventh inning, when a series of Miami errors allowed two more Terrapins to cross home plate. After two consecutive groundouts to start the inning, a single by Michael Monteville into left field was mishandled by Rodriguez, allowing him to get to third.

Korey Wacker drove him in with a single in the next at-bat, then scored when a pick-off attempt by AJ Salcines went over the head of Esteban Tresgallo and into right field to make it 6-4.

After recording 10 hits in the first four innings, the Hurricane bats fell silent through the last five and could not close the gap.

“We definitely need to go out there and play with a little bit more emotion, a little more intensity,” O’Brien said. “We need to play better defense. We had a lot of hits up there but we didn’t  really swing the bats when we needed to.”

Friday night was all about pitching for the Canes. Eric Erickson was masterful through seven innings, giving up just one run on five hits in just 96 pitches to pick up his fourth win of the season. A two-run single by O’Brien in the third was all the run support needed, as Miami cruised to a 4-1 win.

“I’m very happy with the way I pitched tonight,” Erickson said after the win. “I was working on a lot of things, some mechanical things that I needed to change from a couple of weeks prior. I did a lot of studying with the video and worked on my own before this start. I was very happy with the results.”

While the Canes only had five hits in Friday’s contest, the bats were out in full on Saturday night. Every Hurricane starter recorded a hit in a game where they exploded for nine runs and 22 baserunners en route to a 9-1 win.

“We came in with the mindset that we need to get more hits, take more pressure off our pitching staff,” Carey said.

The Hurricanes remain in Coral Gables for a midweek contest against St. Thomas, with Bryan Radziewski scheduled to start Wednesday night. Miami will then travel to South Carolina for a weekend series against the Clemson Tigers.