Canes can’t overcome slow start, last-minute pitching change as they fall at Pitt

Alex Toral anticipates a throw to first base during Miami's game against Duke on April 4 at Mark Light Field.
Alex Toral anticipates a throw to first base during Miami's game against Duke on April 4 at Mark Light Field. Photo credit: Treasure Wilson

A last-minute pitching scratch put the Miami Hurricanes in a bind early at Pittsburgh.

With Alejandro Rosario set to make his first start Friday in two weeks after recovering from an oblique strain, No. 18 Miami replaced Rosario at the 11th hour and used Jake Garland on the mound instead. Per Christopher Stock of InsideTheU, Rosario was unavailable due to an illness.

It may have been an omen. No. 24 Pittsburgh pulled away after a grand slam Friday, beating the Canes 12-6 in Game 1 of the three-game series.

Miami (17-9, 10-8 ACC) allowed Pitt to bat .462 overall, .533 with two outs, and .529 with runners in scoring position. The Panthers outhit the Canes 18-10 in the contest. All but one Panther starter had at least one base hit, nullifying an outing where the Canes also hit a respectable .286.

Garland, who came into Friday’s matinee with a 4-1 record, went just three and 2/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits, two walks and just a single strikeout. He exited the game at Charles L. Cost Field with his team trailing 3-1.

The Canes relied upon their bullpen for the remainder of the afternoon. After going ahead midway through the game, UM’s relievers were unable to hold on or slow down Pitt’s offense.

Andrew Walters gave up no runs in one and 1/3 of work. Daniel Federman entered next and recorded just one out before exiting the game with three runs surrendered. Anthony Arguelles got Miami out of the sixth but not before allowing another two runs, as Pitt made it 8-5.

Alex Munroe allowed two runs in the seventh in relief, before Nicholas Regalado’s two-earned run, one and 1/3 inning effort closed the defeat.

Pittsburgh starting pitcher and staff ace Mitch Myers entered the game averaging over seven innings pitched per start in his last three appearances. But the Canes ended Myers’ day after just five and 2/3 frames, working his count up to 104 pitches. Miami squeezed five earned runs and seven hits against the right-handed starter. Against the home team’s bullpen across 3 and 1/3 frames however, the Canes were able to plate just a single run.

The Panthers opened the scoring in the first inning when Ron Washington Jr. singled home Sky Duff from third base. Miami leveled the matchup in the fourth with a Raymond Gil sacrifice fly, scoring Christian Del Castillo.

Pitt made it 3-1 in the in the bottom half of the fourth with a Bryce Hulett two-run double, driving home Washington and David Yanni. An Anthony Vilar RBI single made it 3-2 Panthers in the fifth.

Miami went up 5-3 in the sixth when Gil sent a three-run home run to left field, scoring Adrian Del Castillo and Alex Toral.

The Panthers got back within one with a Jordan Anderson single in the sixth. Duff then hit a grand slam later in the frame, giving Pittsburgh a three-run lead. Pitt subsequently extended its advantage to five runs in the seventh with a Roman Padilla two-run homer.

Gil hit a solo shot to left in the eighth for Miami before Hulett drove in another run in the bottom of the frame and then scored himself on a Padilla single.

Miami stays in the Steel City for the weekend. Game 2 of the series commences at 3 p.m. Saturday, with a 1 p.m. Sunday series finale set between the teams.