Last season, Duke beat Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball championship. But this season, the players certainly did not forget about the near past.
The Hurricanes’ sweep marks two straight in Atlantic Coast Conference play, with a pair of midweek matchups and a three-game home series versus Virginia approaching. Here are a few takeaways from UM’s sweep over Duke…
1. Sophomore Shortstop Dominic Pitelli had himself a series
Pitelli had a combined 10 RBI in the series, the most by a single player through the the series. The next closest Hurricane players were sophomore outfielder Jacob Burke and sophomore first baseman CJ Kayfus with each having two. Pitelli’s hitting was the game changer all weekend; he hit a grand slam in Friday’s game that turned out to be Miami’s only scoring for the game.
“It might have been the most clutch hit I’ve ever had,” Pitelli said after the game.
Five RBI from him on Sunday created the separation in the 11-3 domination. The performance included another home run that put Miami in the lead at 4-0 in the first inning.
“It got to two strikes so I was trying to be short, get something to the outfield and score some runs,” Pitelli said when reflecting on that home run. “He hung a slider and I took advantage.”
Miami head coach Gino DiMare was proud of the early scoring. “It was a great job of our guys, coming out and not being complacent and getting it done. It was probably deflating for them.” He said.
Pitelli’s hitting should boost his confidence for games to come, and hopefully weekends such as this could be a regular.
2. Sophomore starting pitcher Carson Palmquist is starting to percolate
The two starts before this weekend for Palmquist were fantastic, and the heat continued into his start on Friday. His 12 strikeouts were the most that he has had in a collegiate game. In his six innings he allowed only three hits and one run, a solo homer in the first inning.
“I just kept fighting and battling against every hitter,” Palmquist said. “I didn’t have my best stuff early, but I know what happened last year against them and I wasn’t going to allow it to happen again. It fired me up and I wanted to go out there and help my team any way possible.”
This performance brings his ERA in these last three games to 1.03, which would put him with the best ERA in the ACC. The conference’s current leader remainsn freshman Karson Ligon. The continuance of pitching performances like these could create a season to remember for Palmquist, a First Team All-American in his closing role last season.
3. A busy week lies ahead at Mark Light Field
With a best start in the ACC since 2016, when the Hurricanes last went to the College World Series under former coach Jim Morris, Miami will have to use home field advantage to its strength. As it welcomes second-place Virginia, in addition to Florida International and Florida Gulf Coast, this week, the team begins April with a 13-4 home record. No visiting team has dealt Miami a home loss since Boston College on March 11, a series of which the Canes won the final two games.
Miami looks to continue its eight-game win streak Tuesday FGCU. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Mark Light Field.