The Miami Hurricanes’ 12-11 series-opening loss to Boston College on Friday night was not followed by further struggles for better starts.
Preventing the Eagles’ from pounding starting pitching became Miami’s focus for the remainder of the series, which the Canes now lead 27-11 all-time and 19-3 in Coral Gables.
Miami rebounded in the second game of its first Atlantic Coast Conference series, winning 11-3 at Mark Light Field Saturday.
In his third start, freshman right-hander Karson Ligon pitched six complete innings and finished with seven strikeouts while only allowing a single run.
“We played a much more complete game,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “We pitched, played good defense, made no errors and made the plays we’re supposed to make. We put some pressure on them and were able to get some hits and some situational hitting. They didn’t play very well defensively and we took advantage of that.”
Sophomore shortstop Dominic Pitelli got the momentum started offensively for Miami (11-4, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the third. Boston College matched the next inning as first baseman Joe Vetrano blasted a solo shot to tie the game.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, freshman second baseman Dorian Gonzalez Jr. drew a leadoff walk and freshman outfielder Lorenzo Carrier singled into right field to set up an RBI double from freshman outfielder Edgardo Villegas, who leads the team with a .421 batting average. Sophomore outfielder Jacoby Long then hit a ground ball which caught Carrier in a rundown between third base and home plate, but, miraculously, the ball was thrown away and Carrier was able score while nobody covered home and increase the score to 3-1.
A sacrifice fly from Pitelli drove in Villegas, and to cap off the inning, sophomore outfielder Jacob Burke singled into right field to score Long for a 5-1 advantage.
Two errors committed by Boston College allowed Miami to score two more runs in the fifth inning.
A pair of extra base hits from sophomore first baseman CJ Kayfus and Pitelli fueled another explosive inning that saw the Hurricanes score four more runs. Miami finished with 11 runs on nine hits, much thanks to Pitelli’s impressive game at the plate. The Miami native now leads the team in home runs, continuing his hot streak of hitting.
Boston College rallied in the ninth for two runs, but the game was never in doubt. Ligon (2-1) was awarded the win, while Boston College starting pitcher Sean Hard picked up the loss.
A chilly Sunday afternoon and the start of spring break did not deter fans from showing out to Mark Light Field to watch the Miami Hurricanes take on the Boston College Eagles in their final game of the three-game series. The Hurricanes closed out their first ACC series winning two out of three games with a final score of 12-2.
What started as a slow, scoreless game in the first three innings quickly ramped up. An RBI base hit from catcher Peter Burns brought Vetrano home and put the Eagles (6-8, 1-2 ACC) on the scoreboard for the first time.
The Hurricanes had an immediate answer, breaking through Boston College reliever Eric Schroeder in the bottom of the fourth with three hits and a walk. Miami’s first runs came after the bases were loaded following a walk from freshman outfielder Renzo Gonzalez that allowed for a double from Pitelli to bring two Canes home.
Hurricanes head coach Gino DiMare noted the final inning of Friday’s loss helped the Hurricanes bring momentum into Saturday and carry that into Sunday.
“Today was important to get off to a good start with Alex and set the tone and that is what he did,” DiMare said.
Behind five strong innings from sophomore starter Alex McFarlane, his second start in five days, and clutch hitting from Kayfus, Villegas and Pitelli, once the Hurricanes broke it open, there was no looking back. RBIs were the name of the game for the Hurricanes with each equally leading the Canes with three apiece.
A ground out that brought home Rosario and Gonzalez and put the Canes up 3-1 cost Boston College reliever Eric Schroeder his pitching spot, as the Eagles began warming up their third pitcher of the game in Joey Ryan.
Boston College went on to play seven pitchers over the nine innings, giving up a total of 10 hits and 9 walks that allowed for the Canes’ 12 runs. McFarlane remained the only one of Miami’s four pitchers to allow any hits as the Hurricanes held the Eagles to five hits total.
Three Hurricanes relievers helped close out the win. Freshman Gage Ziehl, sophomore Andrew Walters and junior JP Gates quickly closed out the last four innings. Walters struck out out three of the four hitters he faced.
With the win, McFarlane moved to 2-0, while Schroeder earned his third loss of the season.
Miami hopes to take this momentum on the road for a stretch of five games where it will take on Central Florida, Clemson and Florida . The Canes will return to Mark Light Field on March 25 for their series against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
This story was reported by John Stanley and Lauren Yelner.