Canes hit 19 singles, clinch series with win over Duke

Jordan Lala bats during Miami's game against Duke on Friday, April 2 at Mark Light Field.
Jordan Lala bats during Miami's game against Duke on Friday, April 2 at Mark Light Field. Photo credit: Michael Mok

The Hurricane bats were noisy early and often Saturday night as they clinched the weekend’s three-game series a night early, winning their second game over the Duke Blue Devils in as many evenings, 11-5.

No. 19 Miami (15-8, 9-7 ACC) displayed an offensive clinic Saturday night, with 19 hits, all singles and tied for a season-high, and a .442 batting average. They jumped out to an 8-0 lead after the second inning.

“Bottom line is we got a W,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “[Duke] obviously didn’t play their best game…we’re happy with the win.”

Eight of nine Cane starters had at least one base hit in the matchup, with seven in the group scoring at least one run. Jordan Lala was 3-6, Adrian Del Castillo went 3-5, Dominic Pitelli had his best offensive game of 2021, going 3-4 with a walk, while Christian Del Castillo went 4-4 to go with a walk.

“It was definitely fun. Getting 19 hits is always a good time,” said Adrian Del Castillo. On his brother’s outing Saturday, he joked, “He’s taking up all the family’s hits. He’s got to share some.”

Miami played a clean game not just at the plate, but in the field. The Canes played error-free baseball until the ninth inning, committing just that single mistake and holding Duke to a .212 AVG. The Blue Devils meanwhile committed five errors—three of them by shortstop Ethan Murray. Their defensive shortcomings led directly to four UM runs.

Starting pitcher Victor Mederos went five innings, allowing four hits, three walks and four earned runs. He allowed only three base runners in his first four frames, but allowed just as many early in the fifth before surrendering a grand slam to Duke’s Mario Loperfido.

“After you give up a hit, not only a grand slam but when you give up a hit, especially with bases loaded, all I’m thinking is go after the guy after. Just pound the strike zone and get quick outs,” Mederos said. “I’m not satisfied with my performance. I think I could have done way better.”

Miami opened the scoring in the first inning with an Adrian Del Castillo RBI single, driving home Anthony Vilar from second base. UM’s catcher scored two batters later when Alex Toral brought him home with an opposite field base hit, making it 2-0.

The Canes blew the game open in the second inning while batting around their order. Miami had six hits and as many runs in the inning. They forced Duke starting pitcher Henry Williams to exit, having survived just one and 2/3 frames while surrendering 10 hits and eight runs, five earned.

Duke did make an effort to stay in the game. In the fourth, right fielder Peter Matt recorded an outfield assist, throwing Christian Del Castillo out at home plate.

Loperfido’s fifth inning grand slam then cut Miami’s lead to 9-4. Adrian and Christian Del Castillo responded by each logging seventh inning RBIs to make it 11-4. UM used relievers Andrew Walters and Jake Smith to finish the contest. The bullpen arms combined for four frames and one run, which Loperfido drove in for Duke in the ninth with a ground-rule double.

Miami and Duke face each other one more time, with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. on Easter Sunday. Redshirt sophomore Jordan Dubberly will pitch for UM, making his second start as a Hurricane against the Blue Devils’ Jack Carey.

“Just winning the series isn’t enough,” DiMare said. “We have to be greedy and try to get the sweep.”

The Hurricanes then stay home for a Wednesday night matchup with crosstown foe Florida International this week before traveling to Pittsburgh for a weekend series.