Canes Get Much-Needed Sweep Over BCU

If it's possible to sweep a series and not feel great about it, that's how many Miami fans must be feeling coming off of their three game sweep over Bethune-Cookman this past weekend.

All three games were close and Miami certainly didn't impose their will on the Wildcats like many had hoped or felt they would. It's a good thing that there are no style points factored into a team's RPI because Miami wouldn't be getting any after this sweep.

But a sweep is a sweep and the Hurricanes badly needed one.

Friday night's opener was every bit the pitcher's duel that I had assumed it would be. BCU's ace, Rayan Gonzalez, showed why he was such a hot prospect coming out of high school. He threw six innings, giving up three hits and one earned run. He struck out six and walked only two. His 106 pitches in those six innings probably kept him from going longer.

Miami's starter, Eric Erickson was just a bit better, though. He threw seven innings, giving up five hits and no runs with two walks and eight strikeouts.

The final score ended up being 7-0 because once Gonzalez left the game, the Hurricanes feasted on BCU's bullpen. Six runs ended up crossing the plate in the eighth inning.

It was a true team effort on offense for Miami. Only two starters failed to get a hit and five different players drove in runs.

Saturday's game was basically the inverse of the game on Friday. Both starters got hit around a bit and the bullpens settled things down.

For the Hurricanes, Steven Ewing threw five innings, giving up seven hits, four runs (two earned) with three walks and seven strikeouts.

BCU's starter, Gabriel Hernandez, managed to hold the Canes scoreless through three. That allowed the Wildcats to take a lead, but it was short-lived, as Hernandez's start went downhill from there. The Canes scored all five of their runs over the next two innings, all off of Hernandez. The Miami bullpen was again stellar, as Adam Sargent, A.J. Salcines and Eric Nedeljkovic combined to throw three scoreless innings to close it out.

The offensive star for Miami had to be Dale Carey. He was officially 0-for-1, but he drew two walks and more importantly, he stole three bases. Miami as a team did a great job of taking advantage of BCU's poor defensive play at catcher by stealing five bases total.

Miami nearly dropped the finale of this series, but a bullpen meltdown on the part of Bethune-Cookman kept that from happening.

On this day, the Wildcats bullpen both helped and hurt their cause because things started off well enough for the relief corps. Because he was still on limited pitch count and he also walked four Hurricanes, the Wildcats only got 3.1 innings out of their starter, Ali Simpson. He actually left the game with a no-hitter even though he had given up two runs.

After Simpson's departure, the Wildcats turned to Jairo Acevedo to bridge the gap from the middle innings to the late innings. He did just that, as he threw 3.2 scoreless innings, giving up only three hits.

But that's where the bullpen let them down. After throwing a scoreless eighth inning, BCU left Scott Garner out there to try to finish the game off.

In hindsight, that was not a good decision. After getting leadoff hitter Julian Santos to ground out to start the ninth inning, the next three at-bats for Miami hitters against Garner went like this: single, single, walk. Seeing that the game was slipping away, BCU made the move to Jordan Dailey, their regular closer. All he did was walk in a run and allow the game-winning sacrifice fly to Michael Broad.

After having their fair share of bullpen meltdowns that led to losses, it was nice for Miami to be on the other end of that.

The star for the Hurricanes was starting pitcher Eric Whaley, who turned in a solid performance. He threw seven innings, giving up five hits, two earned runs with one walk and five strikeouts.

Stockpiling as many wins as possible should be the focus for Miami right now. The RPI and SOS numbers are going to be high enough at the end of the season because of their schedule and some wins they have against high-RPI competition. The key to their regional seed and location will be their win total, plain and simple.

With that being the case, this sweep over Bethune-Cookman, no matter how ugly, was just what the doctor ordered for Miami.

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