DURHAM, N.C. – Tied at 1-1 after six, No. 15 Miami scored eight unanswered runs down the stretch to clinch the series with a 9-1 victory over the Duke baseball team Saturday afternoon at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
After escaping a jam in the sixth to preserve the one-all tie, Miami (37-14, 21-5) scored two runs in the seventh and broke the game open with a Dale Carey grand slam in the eighth. The home run was Carey’s second hit of the game after the centerfield added an RBI single in the seventh.
“That end score feels a lot worse than it really was because the reality is we’re two pitches away from going into the ninth 3-1,” said head coach Chris Pollard. “Then all of a sudden, you get one guy on base and the tying run is at the plate. Again, tip my hat to their guys. [Andrew] Suarez pitched very, very well. They’ve done a good job two nights in a row of coming up with the clutch hits. They did it again today and we didn’t.”
Left-hander Andrew Suarez (5-2) did his part to keep the Duke (30-20, 15-11 ACC) offense at bay, yielding a run on five hits over seven complete innings while striking out three.
Duke southpaw Trent Swart (4-2) matched Suarez in the early going, retiring nine of the first 11 batters he faced to keep the game scoreless. Miami loaded the bases in the fifth, scoring the game’s opening run on a Jacob Heyward RBI fielder’s choice before Swart worked out of the jam.
A Kenny Koplove RBI base hit in the bottom half, which knotted the score at one-all, accounted for Duke’s offense. Koplove’s single up the middle plated senior Mike Rosenfeld, who drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a Ryan Deitrich base knock.
Duke turned its 36th double play of the season to end a scoreless top of the sixth and had a chance to take its first lead of the series in the bottom portion of the inning. A leadoff walk to Betts and a Chris Marconcini single put the first two aboard, followed by an Aaron Cohn sacrifice bunt. However, Betts would get caught in a rundown on a David Perkins fielder’s choice and Suarez induced a fly ball to right field to preserve the 1-1 stalemate.
“We had our opportunity there in the sixth to take the lead,” Pollard said. “We do a good job of having an answer to their run in the fifth. Trent [Swart] goes out and gives us a shutdown inning in the sixth. We’re in a situation where we can take the lead and [Miami does] a good job of making pitches in that moment. We had our chances early and we just let it slip away from us.”
Heyward added the second of his three RBI in the seventh, driving in Johnny Ruiz on a RBI fielder’s choice to give the Hurricanes the lead. Carey added a two-out RBI single, putting Miami up 3-1 heading into the final two frames.
“I thought [Trent] pitched really, really well,” said Pollard. “We knew when he went back out to start the seventh he was at 90 pitches. Knowing that he had short rest this coming week going to Florida State, we didn’t really want him to get past 100. [He] gets the leadoff guy … felt like maybe he has a chance to sneak through that inning, and then Carey did a good job two separate times with two outs.”
Swart ultimately suffered the loss, surrendering three runs, two earned, on five hits. The Carlsbad, Calif., native struck out six and walked four over 6.1 innings of work.
The Hurricanes broke the game open in the eighth sending six around on four hits. Zack Collins kickstarted the frame with a base hit and Alex Hernandez added a one-out single. Lopez belted an RBI double for the inning’s first run, and Heyward drew a bases loaded walk to plate the second. Carey then launched Miami’s first grand slam of the season and his sixth homer on the year to put the Hurricanes up by nine.
Duke and Miami square off in the series finale Sunday at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Blue Devil right-hander Michael Matuella (1-2, 2.56 ERA) takes the mound opposite Hurricane lefty Bryan Radziewski (5-2, 3.45).