The Hurricanes have been a constant presence in the win column over the past couple of weeks and Sunday afternoon’s series finale versus the Duke Blue Devils proved to be no exception.
Leading up to the contest, the Canes had won six of their last seven games and were riding a four-game winning streak dating back to their 4-2 victory over Virginia on March 28. However, the 7-1 win today offered significant implications for what this team is capable of going deeper into the season.
The Hurricanes had yet to record a series sweep over any team this season prior to Sunday’s action, despite their lofty win-loss record of 15-8. With two wins over Duke already under their belts this weekend, the Canes sought to reach this milestone in front of their home crowd at Mark Light Field.
“We’ve got some catching up to do and just winning two out of three and winning the series isn’t going to be good enough,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “When we have a chance, we’ve got to try to get the sweep.”
DiMare tasked Jordan Dubberly to take the mound, and the sophomore starting pitcher answered the call. In the best game of his young career with the Hurricanes, Dubberly registered a career-high five innings of work on the bump while striking out a career-high seven hitters.
The one blemish to an otherwise outstanding start for Dubberly came in the top of the fifth inning, when back-to-back doubles from Duke plated the only run the Blue Devils scored on the afternoon. Duke catcher Michael Rothenberg led off the inning with a two-bagger, and he was brought home on a two-out double from outfielder Chase Cheek.
For the Blue Devils, Jack Carey was less electric on the mound, but just as dominant. Through his first four innings, Carey posted goose eggs and blanked the Hurricanes. However, after trailing 1-0 in the bottom half of the fifth, UM busted out of their offensive rut and put three runs on the board, largely backed by a two-run blast from Yohandy Morales.
In the top half of the sixth, Anthony Arguelles assumed the pitching duties for Miami after Dubberly opened the frame with back-to-back walks. Arguelles proceeded to punch out two Duke hitters and escape a bases-loaded jam to preserve the Miami lead at 3-1.
“Without Anthony Arguelles coming in there after me after that rough start to the sixth inning, it wouldn’t be the same result,” Dubberly said. “So, him coming in behind me and, of course, Carson Palmquist finishing out the game and such great defense behind me, it’s a great team win.”
UM’s two-run advantage remained intact through the top of the eighth, when DiMare handed the ball to Carson Palmquist to pitch the final six outs of the game and record a save for Miami. Palmquist was as effective as ever, striking out the side in order to give the Hurricanes one final push to expand their lead before going into the ninth.
Fortunately for Palmquist, the Miami bats did exactly that and padded their lead by four runs. The rally started at the heart of the Hurricanes lineup with Anthony Vilar reaching base on a single. He was brought home on a single from Adrian Del Castillo, and RBIs from Christian Del Castillo, CJ Kayfus and Dominic Pitelli put a crooked number on the scoreboard for the Hurricanes.
Miami entered the bottom half of the ninth with a 7-1 lead, and Palmquist was slotted once again to shut the door and earn the win for the Hurricanes. Palmquist struck out two more hitters and escaped the inning unscathed, securing the sweep for UM.
“We’re feeling good after this sweep, but we’re never satisfied with what we’re doing. We always want to keep pushing ourselves and try to win every game possible,” Morales said. “We’re not done right now. We’ve got to keep going and keep winning games, keep sweeping teams.”
Going into the new week, the Canes will take a five-game winning streak into their next game. They will take on Florida International University at home on Wednesday and then travel to Pennsylvania to battle the University of Pittsburgh in a three-game weekend series.