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The No. 18 Miami Hurricanes returned to Alex Rodriguez Park for a rain-soaked Sunday night affair, dropping game two of their weekend series to the No. 25 Virginia Cavaliers by a final score of 7-4.
Though Eric Whaley was slated for his normal game two start, skipper Jim Morris bumped Steven Ewing up one day due to flu-like symptoms. Ewing pitched effectively through his first four innings before defensive miscues led to a three-run fifth inning for the Cavaliers.
After disappointing offensively in their 7-3 loss on Saturday night, the Hurricanes lineup quickly erased any lingering struggles with a four-run second inning. While Brad Fieger led off the frame with his second homerun of the season, the Hurricanes (27-16, 12-11 ACC) continued to grind away at starter Scott Silverstein, who lasted only two innings.
Already down 1-0 on Fieger's solo shot, the senior lefthander allowed a single to Alex San Juan and then issued back-to-back walks to freshmen Esteban Tresgallo and Garrett Kennedy to load the bases. Junior shortstop Stephen Perez would make him pay, connecting on a double to the gap in right-center, emptying the bases to give the Hurricanes a 4-0 lead.
The Cavaliers (30-14-1, 13-10 ACC) would chip away at the Hurricanes' advantage, however, striking for single runs in the third and fourth before a big fifth inning chased Ewing out of the game. Poor defense plagued Miami once again in the frame, as the team committed two errors leading to three unearned runs.
After Perez misplayed a ball at short to help give the Cavaliers two runners on base, designated hitter Kenny Towns knocked in third baseman Stephen Bruno on a groundout to second base for the first run of the inning. Back-to-back hits from Brandon Downes and Nate Irving would plate two more runs, giving Virginia its first advantage of the night at 5-4. Perez' error was one of five charged to the Hurricanes' defense on the night.
The Hurricanes were unable to muster much offense after the big second inning, scattering only three hits through the final seven innings of the game. Despite disappointing performances from their starting pitchers, the two teams featured impressive performances from the bullpen. Cavaliers' reliever Shane Halley and Javi Salas entered the game at two different points but promptly shut down the opposing offenses; Halley finished with six innings of two-hit ball in relief, while Salas pitched three effective innings.
The Hurricanes and Cavaliers will close out their series on Monday night at 7 p.m. The game is set for televised broadcast on ESPNU.