Miami falls to FAU in final home game of regular season

CORAL GABLES, FL - 2021 Miami Hurricanes Baseball vs FAU (Photo by Kevin Ortiz/University of Miami Athletics) Photo credit: Kevin Ortiz/University of Miami Athletics

Fresh off a series victory over Georgia Tech, the Hurricanes hoped to win its final midweek matchup on Tuesday and finish undefeated in midweek matchups for the first time since 2006.

The team’s offense failed to rally in the late innings, however, as the Canes fell 3-0 to Florida Atlantic University at Mark Light Field.

Facing a left-handed starter in Florida Atlantic’s Adrien Reese (3-1), Miami (29-17, 17-15 ACC) saw multiple RBI opportunities vanish having left eight runners aboard.

“Couldn’t get anything going, couldn’t get leadoff hitters on base,” Miami coach Gino DiMare said. “When we did get guys on base or in scoring position, which wasn’t often but we did, we couldn’t capitalize. Wind was blowing dead into right [field], which doesn’t suit us well because we drive the ball kind of that way with our lefties and even our righties, it seems like.”

The Hurricanes had runners on first and third base for the second time of the contest in the bottom of the seventh after two-straight singles from junior first baseman Alex Toral and right fielder Chad Born, though a 2-0 deficit was not reduced.

“We hit a few balls good but not enough; too many fly balls,” DiMare said. “Bottom line is we did not do a very good job offensively. Our pitching certainly did well enough to keep us in the game, we just were getting shutout and their pitchers they threw did not have good numbers.”

Hurricanes freshman right-handed starter Alex McFarlane was lifted after the first two frames and replaced by sophomore reliever Anthony Arguelles, who surrendered an RBI single to Florida Atlantic center fielder Jackson Wenstrom in the third.

As Miami continued struggling to convert in leadoff scenarios, Florida Atlantic (30-23, 18-14 C-USA) took full advantage late. A seventh-inning leadoff triple from right fielder Bobby Morgensen set up left fielder Jalen DeBose to lay down an RBI bunt to put FAU ahead 2-0.

Though redshirt sophomore right-hander Jordan Dubberly’s day may have ended after the seventh, the Owls were able to add an exclamation mark in the following inning.

Florida Atlantic third baseman B.J. Murray sent a payoff pitch over the wall in left-center field off left-hander Spencer Bodanza, as Miami was unable to recover afterward.

Sophomore second baseman Anthony Vilar reached first base on a leadoff walk in the eighth, yet two fly outs and a lineout prevented Miami from getting a runner in scoring position late.

“I feel like we hit some balls early, we just couldn’t get anything going offensively with guys in scoring position,” Vilar said. “It was mostly one guy on base per inning, two guys on base, and when there were two guys on base there was probably two outs. We just couldn’t produce runs.”

A trio of swinging strikeouts led to a 1-2-3 inning in a final attempt at another Miami late rally, as Florida Atlantic’s Dante Visconti picked up his third save of the season on only 13 pitches.

“It’s been that year, it’s been very hard to get it together and keep it rolling,” DiMare said. “Just when we think that we’ve got momentum, it gets taken back, so we need to turn the page and be ready to go at Louisville.”

Miami used six different pitchers, including former Friday starter Daniel Federman in the ninth. Arguelles got his first loss as a Hurricane, having surrendered the go-ahead run on two hits.

Traveling up to Louisville on Thursday, Miami looks to win its final conference series as a projected No. 3 seed currently slotted to play Charlotte in the NCAA Regional hosted in Gainesville, Florida. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.