Panthers stun Hurricanes, Miami pitching implodes in series sweep

Anthony Vilar bats during Miami's game against Duke on April 3 at Mark Light Field.
Anthony Vilar bats during Miami's game against Duke on April 3 at Mark Light Field. Photo credit: Alex Carnochan

The Hurricanes got off to an encouraging 4-0 start Sunday afternoon versus the Pittsburgh Panthers, but they ultimately fell 12-5 in a blowout loss, resulting in a weekend series sweep.

Miami came into the contest with a vengeance, looking to pounce on the Panthers after dropping Friday and Saturday’s games.

In the top half of the second, the Canes did just that and cracked the scoreboard with a four-run frame. Christian Del Castillo led off the inning with a two-bagger perfectly placed in the right-center field gap. He was then brought in to score on an RBI knock from Alex Toral. However, the loudest swing of the inning came off the bat of Dominic Pitelli, who crushed a three-run home run over the right field wall to blow the game open for Miami at 4-0.

On the mound for UM was Jordan Dubberly, who encountered frequent traffic on the base paths in his short start. In the first, he navigated through a bases-loaded no-out jam, but wasn’t able to replicate that success in the fourth. The Panthers put together a two-out rally when third baseman Sky Duff brought in two runners to score on a base hit to right, trimming Miami’s lead to two runs. Right fielder Nico Popa then drilled a two-run homer to right to level the playing field in Pittsburgh. After the long ball, Dubberly was pulled from the game.

Miami then turned to Alejandro Rosario in relief, who looked sharp in the fifth inning and retired the Panthers in one-two-three fashion. Rosario was slated to make his first start in two weeks on Friday against Pitt after dealing with a right oblique strain, but was pulled from starting at the last minute.

Rosario’s one-inning success was short-lived, and he only recorded two outs in the sixth before surrendering seven runs to the Panthers. The exclamation point in the inning came off a grand slam from Bryce Hulett, which gave Pittsburgh 11 unanswered runs over Miami and their largest lead of the game at 11-4.

Going into the late innings, the Hurricanes did little to narrow their deficit. Jordan Lala was able to score on a sacrifice fly to bring Miami within six in the eighth, but Carson Palmquist gave up a rare home run to left fielder Ron Washington Jr. to restore Pittsburgh’s seven-run lead at 12-5.

In the ninth, the Canes were retired in order to close out the game and conclude matters in Pittsburgh. The loss was Miami’s third consecutive and marks the second time UM has been swept in a three-game series this season.

The Hurricanes will look to regain their rhythm on Wednesday, April 14, when they return to Mark Light Field to take on the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles.