Just one evening removed from Miami’s five-homer spectacle in the series opener, the Canes and Clemson Tigers treated fans to an early home run battle. But UM subsequently settled into the contest, while Clemson couldn’t find an answer for the steady Hurricane offensive onslaught as Miami cliched the series with a 10-2 win Saturday night.
UM (20-11, 12-10 ACC) scored early and often in Game 2 of the weekend series at Mark Light Field, lighting up the scoreboard starting in the second inning and all but one frame afterword through the eighth.
“I’m just really happy with how we’re playing right now,” said head coach Gino DiMare. “Offense really did a good job…very good situational hitting.”
Miami hit .394 on the night, .600 with runners in scoring position and .750 in leadoff situations. Anthony Vilar went 4-5 with a run batted in and a double Saturday, Christian Del Castillo was 2-3 with a team-high three RBI, Alex Toral went 2-4 with one RBI and Yohandy Morales finished 2-5, driving in two runs.
“Everybody knows that hitting is contagious,” said Vilar. “Once we start hitting, everybody is going to continue to hit.”
“One hit gets everyone going,” said Christian Del Castillo. “It brings more energy, more focus…even if we don’t get a hit, we try to pick each other up the best we can.”
“Always good leading a game going into innings,” said Morales. “It’s not that we have to worry about behind, it’s just less stress on our backs. Everybody’s playing calm and just relaxed.”
Right-handed pitcher Jordan Dubberly started for Miami and threw four frames, surrendering four hits and two runs, both solo home runs. Striking out six batters and walking one, Dubberly escaped a fourth inning jam where he allowed two baserunners before logging an out. He threw 83 pitches Saturday.
DiMare said postgame that he wants his starting pitches to go deeper into games. Still, Daniel Federman, Spencer Bodanza, Andrew Walters and Anthony Arguelles held serve out of the bullpen by shutting out Clemson in the final five innings. Miami’s relievers have combined for 11 consecutive shutout innings, dating back to Wednesday’s win over Florida Gulf Coast. Federman’s one and 2/3 frames earned the senior the win.
On the other side, Clemson’s southpaw arm Keyshawn Askew took the mound and threw five innings before getting pulled without an out in the sixth after 100 total pitches. Miami got nine hits and seven runs, five earned, off Askew before forcing the Tigers to go to their bullpen. While UM has struggled against lefties in 2021, they hit .375 against Askew.
“Tough lefty,” DiMare said about Askew. “It’s a funky arm action, and we have a number of lefties in our lineup. I just thought we did a job throughout the entire lineup, just kind of battling and working through it, and getting to [Askew], because he’s pretty good. He has good numbers.”
Dylan Brewer poked a home run to right to open the scoring for Clemson in the second inning. Christian Del Castillo answered for Miami with his own long ball in the bottom half before Sam Hall made it 2-1 Clemson with left field homer in the third.
Miami went up 4-2 in the bottom of the third via RBI singles from Vilar, Adrian Del Castillo and Christian Del Castillo. Morales then made it 6-2 in the fifth with a two-run homer before a Jordan Lala single extended Miami’s lead in the sixth. Christian Del Castillo and Raymond Gil each had a sacrifice fly in the seventh before Alex Toral singled for Miami’s 10th RBI of the night.
The Tigers and Canes face off Sunday at noon in the series finale, with Miami going for the sweep. The game will be available on ACC Network.