Miami magic runs out, #13 UVA outlasts Hurricanes in series finale

Miami UVA Hurricanes Series

Miami, Florida – Miami did not experience another comeback win on Sunday as ranked UVA salvaged the series winning 14-11 over the Hurricanes. The Cardiac Canes manufactured rallies overcoming adversity for the entire week going back to Wednesday’s tilt with Stonehill. However, the errors, the questionable decisions on defense, and a lapse in base running proved too much in the series finale. Herick Hernandez lasted into the fifth giving up six runs (four earned) on seven hits and fanning seven on 100 pitches. UM would use six relievers in an effort that saw the Cavaliers turned away only four times. The Hurricanes gave up 31 runs committing six errors this weekend.

Meanwhile, the offense produced 33 runs, essentially a third of these on Sunday. Dorian Gonzalez Jr., led the way going three-for-six knocking in four runs, and scoring twice including his fourth home run of 2024. Blake Cyr also went yard as part of a two-for-four day recording three runs and two RBIs. Although they didn’t add runs, Jason Torres and Jacoby Long went three-for-six and three-for-five respectively. The contest lasted four hours and nine minutes making it UM’s longest game of the season.

Miami is now 9-6 overall complemented by a 2-1 conference record. Next up they travel to Boca Raton facing Florida Atlantic on Tuesday followed by North Carolina at home next weekend.

The little things

Hernandez ran into a rough patch during the second inning. After striking out the leadoff hitter, he walked Harrison Didawick and clipped Henry Godbout. The southpaw K’ed the next batter for the second out but could not finish surrendering three consecutive hits with another HBP sprinkled in giving Virginia the 4-0 advantage.

Despite a slow start to the afternoon, the Hurricanes’ bats came alive in the fourth. With two outs, Jack Scanlon drew a walk followed by a hit from Long. Jake Kulikowski found the gap in right-center for the two-run double cutting the Cavaliers’ lead in half.

The Hoos struck back in the fifth pouncing on a pair of defensive mistakes. With two outs and two aboard, Hernandez’s 100th throw (also a pay-off pitch) was blopped by Ethan Anderson toward the shortstop JD Urso who couldn’t get to it in time. Unable to scoop it up on the hop, the play resulted in both an error and a run for UVA. A single up the middle made it 6-2.

True to their early season identity, Miami’s Gonzalez responded by lifting one over the right field fence for his fourth homer of the season, a three-run blast making it 6-5. In a bit of redemption, Urso pulled off the four-pitch bases-loaded walk effectively tying the game 6-6 that same inning.

Running out of gas

Unwilling to suffer yet another meltdown, Virginia cranked four runs in the sixth as the bullpen faltered. Slaide Naturman walked two in a row resulting in a pitching change. Brandon Olivera fared little better, his first pitch turned into a two-run double by Henry Ford. Casey Saucke went deep to right afterward.

The Canes put up deuces in the sixth courtesy of an RBI double from Gonzalez and a wild pitch. After the bullpen held off the Cavs in the seventh, Lucas Costello slammed one to left field to make it 10-9. Cyr hit his fifth dinger of the year to left field, grazing the scoreboard and gifting the team its first lead of the day, 11-10.

The lead was short-lived. Saucke tied it with a solo shot in the eighth. UM had a golden opportunity at the bottom of the inning with the bases loaded, however, both Urso and Edgardo Villegas struck out. The missed chance came back to haunt the Canes. With two outs and a runner on third, Ford hit a slow roller that Daniel Cuvet could not pick up, let alone make a play allowing the Hoos to take the lead 12-11. UVA tacked on two more insurance runs. The bases were juiced once more only to see Long ground out to third.

Impressions

Despite missing out on sweeping 13th-ranked Virginia, I am still happy with the Hurricanes’ performance. They stamped their first data point for their post-season resume and although you can say always playing from behind is bad, the flip side is they are a younger, scrappy team that doesn’t give up. The bullpen’s inexperience is showing, it’s to be expected. Going forward, it won’t be the hitting but the pitching, specifically the relief corps that will be my main concern.

For the starters, I want to see how next week shakes out. Rafe Schlesinger and Hernandez have been good but Gage Ziehl has not. I’m willing to give the Friday night ace two more starts before contemplating changes to the weekend rotation. Ben Chestnut has been J.D. Arteaga’s go-to guy for midweek games and I’m curious to see if he’ll get the ball versus the Owls. His ERA is bloated at 8.71 which is worrying. The growing pains continue.

Gus Bus Award

Dorian Gonzalez gave the team and the fans something to cheer for in the fifth and sixth innings, helping to boost the team.

You’re Killing Me Smalls

Oh, this is going to the bullpen. They just couldn’t stop the Hoos from scoring. Very frustrating.

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