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May 11, 2012Stay connected to the Canes. Sign-up for CaneSport.com Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone and register with CaneSport on FACEBOOK and TWITTER! Don't miss the all-new digital CANESPORT MAGAZINE - - covering every game inside and out.
After a convincing 11-0 Friday night victory to snap an eight-game ACC losing streak, the Hurricanes went right back to the loss column in conference play.
Miami (31-18, 13-13 ACC) fell to Wake Forest (28-21, 10-16 ACC) 7-2 Saturday night. The loss snaps a four-game winning streak (first game against Wake and the three-game sweep against Bethune-Cookman) and has Miami at 1-9 in its last 10 conference games.
The Demon Deacons put a six spot on the board in the third inning off Miami starter Steven Ewing that turned the tides in Wake Forest's favor for the rest of the night.
Steven Ewing's start was cut short in the third inning. On a close play at first where he had to come over from the mound to cover, Ewing's right foot slid on the turf and hit up against the side of corner of the bag. He bruised his knee on the play.
Ewing limped around and threw a few warm-up pitches before declaring himself ready to continue.
"I didn't feel like it was 100 percent," Ewing said, "but I did feel like it was good enough to pitch on, and I'm going to go out there and give it my all every game."
After the play in which Conor Keniry was called safe, although Ewing appeared to reach the bag in time, Ewing, with the bases loaded and one out, faced the No. 3, 4 and 5 hitters in the Wake Forest order and gave up two singles and a double to them.
"I'm sure it probably did [affect him], but he was struggling a little bit before that play happened with his command," coach Jim Morris said. "He wanted to stay in there, he felt like he was okay. He's the only one that can say that; we can't tell."
"I don't think it affected me too much," Ewing added. "I just didn't make pitches."
Ewing was pulled in favor of Javi Salas at that point. Salas gave up an RBI single up the middle to Mark Rhine, the first Demon Deacon he faced, to cap Wake Forest's six-run third and finish the line on Ewing.
Ewing took the loss Saturday, going 2 1/3 and giving up six earned runs off five hits. He struck out four and walked one.
On the season, Ewing is now 5-2 with a 3.31 ERA.
Ewing says his knee is fine. It was checked out by team doctors, and he just has to get through some bruising.
Ewing's starting pitching foe, Wake Forest's Jack Fischer, went seven innings strong, giving up just one run off seven hits. The seven innings Fischer pitched marked a career-high.
"He was just mixing his pitches well and keeping us off balance," said Brad Fieger, who had a two-for-four night. "Throwing strikes and getting ahead of hitters- that's what pitchers need to do."
Miami's lone run off Fischer came in the second when a Jarred Mederos groundout to short allowed Rony Rodriguez to score.
Rodriguez was a bright spot offensively, going three for four. The middle of the Hurricane order (Fieger, Rodriguez and Broad) went seven for 12 on the night while the other six hitters went two for 22
With Ewing's early exit, Morris had to piece the rest of the game together with six relievers finishing off the remaining 6 2/3.
The bullpen held Wake Forest's offense down. The only run scored against Hurricane relievers came when Mac Williamson, who finished two for five with two RBI on the night, drove in Evan Stephens in the sixth on a single off Christian Diaz.
Comeback attempts were futile for the Canes. They got runners on with nine hits and three walks, but base running mistakes plagued them.
First, in the fourth, Rodriguez tried to stretch a double down the left field line into a triple and was thrown out at third and then again in the sixth when Brad Fieger was gunned down at the plate attempting to score on a Michael Broad fly ball to center.
"When you're not scoring runs, you've got to try to be aggressive," Morris said. "We emphasize that to the players to do that."
"Any time you can get a run, I think you need to get that run," Fieger added about his play. "That was just a close play, the center fielder made a close play, and the umpire called me out."
Fieger later had an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth that drove home Dale Carey from second.
The rubber game of this three-game set will take place Sunday afternoon. Eric Whaley (3-3, 2.54 ERA) will try to make his mama proud on Mother's Day, getting the start against Demon Deacon left-hander Brian Holmes (6-2, 3.08 ERA).
Miami can still clinch a spot in the ACC Tournament Sunday. The magic number for the Hurricanes is two to earn its bid in the eight-team tournament that preludes the NCAA Tournament.
After Sunday's game, Miami wraps up its regular season against Florida Gulf Coast at home and then travels to Atlanta for its final ACC series against Georgia Tech. Miami is currently 4-8 in road ACC games.
The ACC Tournament then goes from May 23-27.
Morris says he's hopeful Peter O'Brien can return for next weekend's Georgia Tech series, and if not, the ACC Tournament.