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No. 21 Miami wrapped up its regular season in disappointing fashion on Saturday afternoon at Russ Chandler Stadium, dropping its series finale with homestanding Georgia Tech by a final score of 2-1.
Despite scattering nine hits and two walks over his six innings of work, junior righthander Eric Whaley (3-4) pitched well enough for the Hurricanes to complete their first road sweep of the season. But Miami (34-19, 16-14 ACC) could manage only two basehits off the Georgia Tech pitching staff, both off starter Cole Pitts (5-4), as the Hurricanes fell for only the second time in their last nine contests.
With the loss, the Hurricanes assured themselves of a No. 6 seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament set to begin May 23. Conversely, by winning the series finale, Georgia Tech (32-24, 12-18 ACC) punched tickets to Greensboro, N.C. for the eighth and final tournament berth.
Miami jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a ball ripped off the left field wall by junior designated hitter Michael Broad. Senior Rony Rodriguez, who became the Hurricanes' first baserunner of the day on a walk issued in the previous at-bat, scored all the way from first on Broad's tenth double of the season.
But Tech would soon respond with a big hit of their own in the bottom of the second, as Friday night's starting pitcher Jake Davies lined a solo homerun over the wall in centerfield to tie the game up at 1-1. That would be all Tech would muster until the sixth inning, despite connecting for nine hits off Whaley. The Pompano Beach, Fla. native would allow baserunners in each of the next three innings, but pitched himself out of jams to earn his team-best eleventh quality start of the season.
Yellow Jackets' slugger Daniel Palka would break the deadlock with another solo homerun off Whaley, this one over the fence in right field to give Tech a 2-1 lead. Relievers Chris Diaz and Adam Sargent finished off the final two innings allowing only one combined basehit.
Miami came close to replicating Thursday's late-inning comeback when ace reliever Alex Cruz entered the game. But with runners on the corners and two outs, third baseman Sam Dove made a terrific diving stop that saved a potential game-tying run for Miami. Zane Evans shut the door on his fifth save of the season, helping the Jackets cling to a 2-1 win and an ACC Tournament berth.
The Hurricanes now await the official seeding and bracket completion for the conference tournament, set to begin May 23.