Baseball: Alabama State Recap

Coming into the series this past weekend against Alabama State, the Hornets had the look of a team that could easily pull an upset if things broke right for them. And that's exactly what they did in getting a win in the middle game on Saturday, upsetting Miami's hopes of coming away with a sweep.

Given that the expectation coming in was that the Hurricanes would sweep, it's easy to be disappointed with "just" winning two out of three. Considering that Miami's RPI is right about where it was at this time last week, they continue to move up the polls, and that this series had no bearing on their place in the ACC, though, the single loss didn't really hurt anything.

On Friday night, it looked like the Hurricanes were setting the tone for how the whole weekend would go.

They jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the first and extended the lead to 9-0 by the time they were done hitting in the third, before going on to win 11-1.

Offensively, Alex Hernandez led the way. He went 3-for-4, including a double and a triple, with four RBI and two runs scored. Kudos also should go out to Sebastian Diaz, who hit the first home run of his Miami career, in a pinch-hit role no less.

In all, eight of the nine Miami starters had hits and head coach Jim Morris was able to give some at-bats to players like Jacob Heyward, Carlos Diaz, and Derik Beauprez, who haven't had many opportunities this season.

On the mound, Chris Diaz was solid once again. He threw six innings, giving up eight hits and one earned run with six strikeouts and one walk. Much like he did with the offense, Morris used Enrique Sosa and Sam Abrams, two pitchers that haven't had big roles to this point, to finish the game off.

Saturday was a different day, however.

Alabama State grabbed a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Then, after Miami tied it at 3 in the bottom of the sixth, we got to see just how resilient the Hornets could be. They came back with two runs in the top of the seventh, only to see the Canes answer with two in the bottom half. Rather than fold up and concede that Miami was the better team, ASU came back out and scored a run in the eighth to take a 6-5 lead that they would not relinquish.

The Hurricanes had their opportunities to win this game, but given how they played, they are lucky to have come that close. They just weren't all that sharp in any phase of the game.

In his start, Andrew Suarez was good, but not great. In seven innings, he gave up seven hits and five runs (three earned) with seven strikeouts and one walk.

The defense was shaky. Four errors were committed, leading to three unearned runs, including what turned out to be the game-winning run in the top of the eighth.

Offensively, the Canes managed just six hits coming from only four players. Considering they managed five runs on those six hits, they took advantage of their opportunities, but it just wasn't enough.

The offensive star for the Hornets was second baseman Einar Muniz. He reached all four times he came to the plate thanks to three hits and a walk. He drove in a run and scored two runs of his own. Left fielder Waldyvan Estrada was 2-for-4 with two RBI.

On the mound, ASU got stellar relief work from Normando Valentin. Starting pitcher Joseph Camacho had really started to struggle, giving up five runs in his last inning and a third of work, but Valentin shut the Hurricanes down after that point. When it was all said and done, he had thrown 2.2 innings, giving up one hit and no runs with three strikeouts and no walks.

Sunday, ASU came back out ready to play. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning, but Miami answered with four in the bottom half of the inning and never looked back on their way to a 6-3 win to capture the series.

On the mound, Bryan Radziewski was good once again. In 6.1 innings, he gave up five hits and 3 runs (two earned) with seven strikeouts and two walks. Cooper Hammond was even better in relief to finish it off. He threw 2.2 innings, giving up no hits or runs with one walk and four strikeouts.

Offensively, Dale Carey set the tone at the top of the lineup. He went 2-for-3 with a hit by pitch, driving in a run and scoring one as well. Garrett Kennedy, who has struggled with the bat all season, also had a nice day. He went 2-for-2 with a walk and an RBI. Brandon Lopez went just 1-for-4, but he made it count, as he drove in two runs.

Coming off this series win, the Hurricanes will welcome Florida Gulf Coast to Coral Gables on Wednesday night before heading down to Durham, North Carolina to take on Duke in ACC play this weekend.

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