A great win by the Miami Hurricanes against the North Carolina Tar Heels at the ACC Tournament today. The Canes found themselves down 5-0 entering the top of the sixth inning and went on to score six runs over the next two innings, reclaiming a lead they’d never lose en route to a 7-5 victory.
UNC jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after one as UM starting pitcher Brian Radziewski struggled early, surrendering a walk, hitting a batter, giving up three hits and three runs. Radziewski settled down over the next three innings, only giving up two hits. Radziewski gave up three hits and two more runs in the bottom of the fifth and was relieved by A.J. Salcines top of the six.
Miami bats remained silent for five innings, but in the bottom of the sixth finally came alive.
Harold Martinez started it off with a single up the middle. Brad Feiger flied out, Chris Palaez walked, Stephen Perez struck out swinging and Dale Carey drove a two-out single to center, scoring Martinez and moving Palaez to third.
After a pitching change, Cade Kreuter was walked and with bases loaded, Zeke DeVoss doubled to left center, drove in three and was tagged out at third when over-sliding the base.
Miami’s offense added two in the top of the seventh thanks to a fielding error, a walk, a fielder’s choice and another two-out hit – this time a single by Perez – to give the Canes the 6-4 lead. A top of the ninth insurance run when Corey Janson drove in Perez, who advanced to third after a Carey double. Perez started the rally with a one-out single.
The Tar Heels looked for a bottom of the ninth rally when Jesse Wierzbicki walked and advanced to second after a Tommy Coyle single, but the Canes’ defense held strong, picking off Wierzbicki was picked off at second and Jacob Stallings grounded into a double play.
You can’t hang too much on one game, but if there was a ‘type’ of opening game Miami needed, this was it. Overcoming an early deficit, strong pitching down the stretch, bats coming alive (to the tune of fourteen hits), good defense (one error) and big plays when it counted.
An opening round loss and ice cold bats would’ve felt like nothing more than extension of the past few weeks, but seven unanswered runs and a comeback victory can breathe new life into a team. When Jim Morris and this coaching staff remind these kids that it’s a brand new season and that everyone was 0-0 entering the conference tourney, they can now deliver that message with conviction.
Miami is now 1-0 with second-ranked Virginia looming and having just beat a top-ranked North Carolina team, hopefully that brings some much-needed confidence and mojo on Friday. A stagnant offense got a shot in the arm today and a good run in the talent-heavy ACC could go a long way in determining where Miami spends the next few weekends when the regionals are underway.