Baseball can't hold lead, drops finale at Louisville 9-6
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The No. 23 Miami Hurricanes dropped the series finale on Saturday at No. 8 Louisville, 9-6.
The Hurricanes (27-14, 11-10 ACC) carried momentum from a 16-11 win earlier in the day over the Cardinals (31-9, 15-6 ACC). But Louisville withstood an early offensive outburst by Miami to score nine unanswered runs and clinch the series with a win in the final game.
The Canes loaded the bases in the first inning against Louisville starter Nick Bennett. Jordan Lala led off the game with a base hit up the middle and Anthony Vilar walked before Adrian Del Castillo was hit by a pitch to fill the sacks with Hurricanes with one out in the inning.
Bennett struck out Raymond Gil to get closer to escaping unscathed, but freshman JP Gates had other ideas. The Miami designated hitter crushed a three-run double off the wall in right field to put the Hurricanes ahead, 3-0, and set a new career-high with three RBI in a game.
The Hurricanes picked up three more runs in the inning when Alex Toral destroyed the first pitch he saw from Bennett for his ACC-best 17th homer of the season. The three-run bomb doubled Miami’s lead and guaranteed the Canes would send nine batters to the plate in the opening inning.
Louisville’s bats answered with a run in the bottom of the first against UM starter Brian Van Belle. An RBI groundout by Tyler Fitzgerald sent home Trey Leonard to put the Cardinals on the scoreboard, 6-1.
The Cardinals scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth, taking advantage of inconsistent command by Van Belle. Louisville led off the inning with a double by Logan Wyatt, but Van Belle issued three straight walks and a hit by pitch before recording another out. In total, The redshirt junior walked four batters and hit another in the inning, pushing home three runs to cut the Miami lead to two, 6-4.
Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell called in his closer, Michael McAvene, to pitch with two outs and a runner on first in the top of the fifth and the junior struck out Raymond Gil to get the Cardinals out of the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth DiMare called for one of his top relievers, bringing in sophomore Daniel Federman to face catcher Henry Davis with two outs and Wyatt on third. The All-American first baseman broke for home plate on a 1-1 pitch and was called out by home plate umpire Douglas Vines.
After video review, the call was overturned and it was determined that Wyatt touched home plate before Michael Amditis tagged him. The steal of home brought Louisville within one, 6-5.
The Cardinals completed the comeback in the bottom of the sixth when Trey Leonard hit a sacrifice fly to left that drove in Drew Campbell to tie the game at 6. Campbell, who reached on a wild pitch after striking out to open the inning, went first to third on a base hit by Justin Lavey before advancing the final 90 feet after tagging up on Leonard’s fly ball.
Two batters later, Fitzgerald gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game when he singled to center and drove in Lavey to put Louisville ahead 7-6.
Louisville added another run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly to the wall in left-center by Lavey that allowed Alex Binelas to tag up and score easily from third to double the Cardinals’ lead, 8-6.
Fitzgerald drove in his third run of the game in the bottom of the eighth, shooting the gap in right-center for a double off Miami closer Gregory Veliz that sent Jake Snider home to make it 9-6 in favor of the Cardinals.
Miami is back in action on Wednesday, hosting FIU at 6 p.m. inside Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.