Without having an at-bat in two weeks, center fielder Tony Jenkins came into the game Sunday in the bottom of the seventh inning and grounded out.
But in the bottom of the ninth, tied at 2-2 with the Clemson Tigers, with CJ Kayfus on third and Dominic Pitelli on second, Jenkins hit a fly ball out to center field and won the game for the Miami Hurricanes, 3-2.
“It was just great to be in that position and that situation at the time and an even better feeling to get that done for the team,” Jenkins said. “I’ve just got to stay ready whenever my name gets called and I felt like I did that today. It felt really great celebrating with the guys. Everyone seemed very proud of me and I’m just thankful for my team.”
Jenkins, who has struggled offensively most of the season, was inserted into the lineup in the top of the seventh inning for defensive purposes
“Winning one-run games, those are very important. Those are the type of games you are going to play later on in tournament time,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “Tony is by far and away our best outfielder. I’m so proud of him because I know it’s tough. We’ve all been there, struggling.”
Kayfus, who went in at first base for Alex Toral in the top of the seventh inning as well, led off the bottom of the ninth with a single up the middle. Pitelli then doubled to right field, allowing Kayfus to advance to third before Jenkins brought him home.
With the win on Sunday, the Canes (21-11, 13-10 ACC) swept Clemson after dominating offensively Friday and Saturday.
Miami’s first two runs of the game came on home runs from freshman third baseman Yohandy Morales and sophomore left fielder Jordan Lala. The Hurricanes relied on home runs all weekend, with a total of nine hit from the home team.
Keir Meredith, Clemson’s left fielder, hit a single in the top of the third inning to drive in the first run for the Tigers. Catcher Adam Hackenberg scored in the top of the seventh on a fielder’s choice.
On the mound for the Hurricanes was Jake Garland. The second-year freshman went six innings, giving up three hits and one run while striking out 12 batters.
Miami’s near-perfect relief pitcher Carson Palmquist took over in the seventh inning and blew the lead by allowing the run in the top of the seventh. Palmquist had only given up two runs in 12 appearances prior to Sunday.
“He wasn’t at his best, but he’s been almost un-human like up till this point, but we talked to the team weeks ago that there’s going to be a day where he’s off and we got to make sure we pick him up and we did that today,” DiMare said.
Palmquist said because he had not thrown since last Sunday against Pittsburgh, his arm felt good but a little tired.
“It’s awesome to have your teammates have your back out on the field,” Palmquist said. “When I was having one of my worst outings of the year, my team was behind me to pick me up.”
The Canes will look to continue their three-game win streak on Wednesday, April 18 against Florida Gulf Coast University at Mark Light Field. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.