Canes Give Weaver First Loss of Season

The Miami Hurricanes (42-11) defeated Long Beach State (36-17) in the first game of the series 8-5. Long Beach State pitcher Jered Weaver, one of the top pitchers in the country, suffered his first loss and worst outing of the season. Erick San Pedro, Adam Ricks, and Jim Burt hit solo homeruns off of Weaver.

Jered Weaver (14-1) came into the game with a 1.25 ERA, but after giving up a season-high seven runs his ERA jumped to 1.68. He also gave up a season-high eight hits, three homeruns, and four walks.

"It was disappointing, but it happens," Weaver said. "I battled out there. On the homeruns there was nothing that you can do. They were good swings. There was no where else I wanted to put those pitches."

Miami had a 3-1 lead on the three solo homeruns going into the bottom of the seventh inning. That is when it fell apart for Weaver. Richard Giannotti and Gaby Sanchez led off the inning with back-to-back doubles. A sacrifice bunt by Roger Tomas, a single by Jon Jay, and an Adam Ricks walk chased Weaver out of the game. Ryan Braun followed the Weaver departure with a three-run homer to give the Hurricanes an 8-1 lead.

"Things fell apart there at the end," Weaver said. "We got a hard groundball to the shortstop, but there is nothing that you can do about it now. I am 14-1 and I'm having a great season. It is just a matter of getting back into these next few games."

Although Weaver managed to record 11 strikeouts in the game the strike zone appeared to be tight.

"We assume that coming into Miami," Weaver responded. "It is not surprising that we are going to get squeezed when we come here. There is nothing that you can do about it. You just have to battle through it. I don't think I've ever given up four walks—that should tell you something."

Miami second baseman Adam Ricks went 2-3 with his ninth homerun of the season. Ricks drove a 2-2 fastball middle-in over the right field fence in the sixth inning off of Weaver.

"He is a great pitcher and probably the best pitcher we have faced all season," Ricks said. "Our guys just stayed focused and had good at-bats. It is a good feeling beating a guy like that. It will gives us confidence that we can carry into tournament play next week."

Seven of Miami's 10 hits went for extra-bases—an outcome not expected by head coach Jim Morris.

"It was a big win for us," Morris said. "Our strategy was not to score eight runs, I can tell you that. Our strategy was to pitch, play defense, score a couple of runs and win."

Hurricanes starting pitcher J.D. Cockroft (8-4) had another solid performance going toe-to-toe with Weaver. Cockroft gave up just one run through seven innings allowing his teammates to build an 8-1 lead. He ran into trouble in the eighth inning leaving the bases loaded and reliever Ricky Orta allowed all three runners to score. Cockroft finished the day with 7.1 innings pitched giving up four runs, eight hits, and striking out three.

"It is definitely good to get a big win like that at the end of the season against a quality team and probably the best pitcher in the nation," Cockroft said. "Everybody around the nation knows how good Weaver is so there is a lot more riding on the game than usual. We wanted to prove that we can beat anybody."

Notes

Ryan Braun is expected to DH the rest of the series...Jim Burt is now tied for 10th on the all-time career homerun list with 34...Gaby Sanchez recorded his 20th error of the season, but made a great diving play to end the Long Beach State rally in the 8th inning...Danny Gil picked up his fourth save of the season and his first against a quality opponent...Erick San Pedro has hit three homeruns in the last four games...Every Miami starter reached base...Roger Tomas had two sacrifice bunts

Christopher Stock is a Staff Columnist for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@grassy.com.

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