DURHAM, N.C. – Miami raced to an early lead and held the Duke offense in check to claim the series finale, 8-2, Sunday afternoon at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
Miami (9-10, 3-3) plated two runs in the first, two in the second and three in the third to surge to a 7-0 advantage heading to the fourth. After Miami totaled 11 hits the first three innings, Duke (16-4, 4-2 ACC) outhit the Hurricanes 7-4 the rest of the way but the Blue Devils could not overcome the deficit.
Starter Ryan Day (1-2) took the loss, allowing a career-high six runs on nine hits over 2.1 innings.
“I give credit to Miami because I thought they had a pretty good two-strike approach,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “They made some adjustments when we got into pitcher-advantage counts. Some of it was seeing-eye contact and some of it was loud contact. I know this, Ryan [Day] will learn from it and be ready to go and he’ll come out hungry next week.”
Miami starter Andrew Cabezas (1-2) was up to the task of preserving the lead. Cabezas pitched six shutout innings, allowing three singles and one walk while striking out five.
“[Cabezas is] just a veteran guy and he’s ultra-competitive,” Pollard said. “That’s a hard guy if you stake him a lead to get to because he’s not going to beat himself. He’s able to get back in the zone when he needs to. We just didn’t string anything together against him.”
Four Blue Devil relievers – Bryce Jarvis, Graeme Stinson, Matt Mervis and Thomas Girard – limited Miami to one run on four hits the final six innings.
Catcher Chris Proctor accounted for two of Duke’s seven hits, singling in both the second and the fifth. Zack Kone, Max Miller and Michael Smiciklas contributed a base hit each.
Freshman Tyler Wardwell blasted an eighth-inning pinch-hit double off the Blue Monster for his first career hit. In the ninth, junior Aaron Therien launched a two-run homer to center field for his first career hit as well.
“It’s awesome,” Pollard added. “I was super excited for Tyler Wardwell, coming off the bench. Got in a good count and put a good swing on it. Michael Smiciklas comes in off the bench and gives us two really good at bats. Really happy for Aaron [Therien]. Aaron’s as selfless as anybody we have on this team. Works and works and works every day down there in the pen to make these pitchers better. Really excited for him to come in and square a ball up like that.”
Duke is set for two midweek games for traveling to Pittsburgh for its third ACC series of the year. The Blue Devils take on Campbell Tuesday, March 20 in Buies Creek, N.C., before hosting Maryland Eastern Shore Wednesday, March 21 at the DBAP.