The Miami Hurricanes have swept back-to-back Atlantic Coast Conference opponents after defeating the Duke Blue Devils 11-3 on Sunday at Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The No. 17 Hurricanes (21-6, 10-2 ACC) swept the ranked North Carolina Tar Heels last weekend to begin their back-to-back conference sweeps for the first time in four years, and have now won eight games in a row.
“It was a great job of our guys, coming out and not being complacent and getting it done. It was probably deflating for them,” Miami coach Gino DiMare said.
Miami’s offense got off to a hot start when sophomore shortstop Dominic Pitelli hit a grand slam over the right field wall, putting the team ahead 4-0.
“It got to two strikes so I was trying to be short, get something to the outfield and score some runs,” Pitelli said. “He hung a slider and I took advantage.”
Duke (12-16, 3-9 ACC) failed to respond in the first inning. Miami added three more runs on sophomore third baseman Yohandy Morales’s bases-clearing three-run double in the top half of the second.
The Blue Devils cut the deficit to six when switch hitter Luke Storm reeled in third baseman Graham Pauley, as the Hurricanes opted for the out at second base.
Miami got the run back, however, as sophomore first baseman CJ Kayfus hit a sacrifice fly into foul territory, scoring freshman second baseman Dorian Gonzalez for an 8-1 advantage.
Quickly, Duke was forced to go to its bullpen in the midst of the scoring barrage. Junior right-hander Billy Seidl started for the Blue Devils, but only lasted 1 1/3 innings while giving up six earned runs. Seidl’s biggest struggle was control, allowing four walks but only giving up a couple of hits.
The Blue Devils then turned to graduate student John Natoli who tossed 1 2/3 innings, striking out four hitters and only allowed one run on one hit, giving up a pair of walks. Natoli was relieved by left-hander Matt Dockman, who was the first to not allow an earned run of any Duke pitcher, going two innings.
Meanwhile, Miami’s starter in sophomore Alejandro Rosario earned a quality start as he went six innings. Rosario allowed five hits and one run, striking out two batters while granting two walks.
For Rosario, the game was a big turnaround from what has been a mostly turbulent season. Before Sunday, Rosario had not made a start allowing less than four runs this season.
“He probably has to be one of the more talented Sunday guys in the country,” DiMare said. “He’s one of the more talented guys, period. It’s a matter of having him stay within himself and handle adversity. He’s done a better job and did a good job settling in. He threw very well for us, it’s what we needed.
In the eighth inning, the Hurricanes added more three runs as junior catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. doubled in a run and outfielder Jacob Burke grounded out to score backup catcher JD Jones. Pitelli got his fifth RBI of the day on a single to end Miami’s scoring for the day.
Duke utilized seven relievers while Miami brought in three arms. Junior right-hander Anthony Arguelles allowed the only other runs from Miami’s side, when outfielder Devin Obee hit a two-run homer to right in the ninth.
Rosario (1-1) earned his first win of the season, while Seidl (2-2) was hit with the loss.
“We’re playing a good stretch right now, but there’s room for improvement,” DiMare said. “We had some big hits, but we have guys in the lineup that need to do a better job. You want to have nine guys in the lineup that are clicking on all cylinders. We have a lot of games in a short period of time. Our guys need to be focused and mentally tough during this stretch of games.”
Miami will return back to Coral Gables for two midweek non-conference matchups against Florida Gulf Coast and Florida International — two teams the Canes have already beaten. Afterwards, Miami will host Virginia, the fourth-ranked team in the country, in a three-game weekend set.
First pitch on Tuesday vs. FGCU is scheduled for 6 p.m.