Baseball: UNC Series Recap

In the series preview, I talked about how the Hurricanes were likely going to get UNC's best shot this weekend and that turned out to be absolutely true. The Tar Heels won a game in a blowout and the two games that the Canes won were both very close.

It would have been good for Miami's chances to be a top-eight national seed if they had swept UNC, but I'm sure they are quite satisfied with winning the series given how well the visitors played this weekend.

After a rainout on Thursday night, the series got started with a doubleheader on Friday.

The first game of the twin bill was anything but ordinary right from the start.

The Tar Heels came out and scored three runs off of Chris Diaz in the first inning, and although he settled down for the most part after that, four runs in six innings qualifies as a rough start when your season has been as good as his.

Miami put up three runs of their own off of UNC starter Trent Thornton, but heading into the bottom of the eighth, they still trailed 4-3. All they did in that frame was plate a run to tie the game off of UNC's lights-out closer Reilly Hovis.

But then, the scoring just stopped. The game went into extra innings and it just kept going and going and going. Finally, in the top of the 16th inning, UNC pushed a run across off of Javi Salas, who had been very good in long relief.

Rather than pack up and give in, though, Miami fought back and scored two runs of their own on a Tyler Palmer single to walk off with the 6-5 win.

Pitching-wise, each time's long reliever was the key. For UNC that was Spencer Trayner. He threw five innings, giving up three hits and no runs with one walk and one strikeout between innings 10-14. For Miami, it was Javi Salas. He threw five innings and ended up giving up the go-ahead run in the 16th, but thanks to Palmer, he came away with the win to run his record to 4-3 on the season. The work of these two kept their teams from having to completely exhaust their bullpens even in the face of having to play 16 innings.

On offense for Miami, Tyler Palmer was the star and not just because of his game-winning hit. In all, he was 5-for-8, including those two RBI. Alex Hernandez was 3-for-7 with an RBI and Brandon Lopez chipped in with two hits of his own.

It would have been good enough for David Thompson simply to take the field in this one after his rehab from a blood clot that forced him to have a rib removed. But he did one better and had two hits and a walk as well.

Rather than hang their heads after the deflating loss, UNC came back out and laid it on UM in game two. They scored four runs in the first, three in the second, and three in the third on their way to an 11-2 victory.

After tallying four hits in game one, UNC's Landon Lassiter came up with three more in game two to lead the UNC attack. He scored two runs and drove in two more as well. All after I made mention of his subpar season in the series preview. Freshman Wood Myers had two hits and drove in three. Michael Russell, Alex Raburn, and Tyler Ramirez also had two hits. For Miami, only Johnny Ruiz had more than one hit.

Although they didn't need it with all of the runs they scored, UNC got a sparkling start out of Benton Moss. He threw seven innings, giving up four hits and one run with one walk and nine strikeouts.

Like Chris Diaz in game one, Andrew Suarez's poor start was uncharacteristic of his fantastic season to this point. He threw just two innings, giving up nine hits and seven runs.

The Hurricanes needed a clean game in the finale on Sunday to get the taste of the blowout loss out of their mouths and that's exactly what they got. Bryan Radziewski threw six innings, giving up six hits and no runs with one walk and six strikeouts to lead the way.

Cooper Hammond and Bryan Garcia came in to relieve B-Rad and finished off what he had started in the 2-0 win.

Offensively, the Hurricanes weren't outstanding, but they did just enough. David Thompson continued his good weekend by going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

The win pushed Radziewski's record to 7-2 and with his 1.1 perfect innings to end the game, Bryan Garcia got his 15th save.

The Hurricanes achieved their ultimate goal of winning the series and solidifying their case for a host site and possibly a national seed.

And although they won just one game in the series, UNC solidified their case for making the field of 64 and proved that they could be a handful once they get there.


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