Miami Baseball Hitting Late Season Stride

Don’t look now, but the Miami Hurricanes are now 19-3 dating back to early March. After dropping a rubber-match game at Louisville, the Canes slipped to 10-6 on the season, but are now 29-9, ranked sixth in the nation and appear to be finding a groove with a few big-time ACC showdowns on the horizon.

Miami travels to Virginia this weekend before welcoming Florida State for what is always a spirited three-game home stand.

Regarding the Canes’ recent run, the tide truly started to turn when Miami swept North Carolina State at home. A hard-fought 3-2 extra innings win was backed up by two dominant performances, with the Canes outscoring the Wolfpack, 15-2.

Miami rolled Army in a midweek showdown two days later and followed up with two dominating games over Wake Forest—15-2 and 12-7—before dropping the finale, 10-4.

Florida Gulf Coast took down the Canes, 8-1 and Miami dropped the finale against North Carolina, 10-3 after a pair of 4-3 victories; Saturday’s game coming in extra innings.

Since then, what appears to be a bit of reprioritizing and a rebirth—though the competition certainly hasn’t all been next-level; Bethune-Cookman, Duke, Florida Atlantic and Virginia Tech, before Wednesday night’s 4-2 over No. 19 Central Florida.

The home stand against Duke kicked off with a 4-3, made possible by catcher Garrett Kennedy, who had the go-ahead hit in the bottom of the seventh, driving in three of the Canes’ four runs before closer Bryan Garcia picked up his sixth save of the season, going 1.2 innings to shut things down.

The following night Miami outlasted Duke, 3-2, made possible courtesy of a brilliant outing from left-hander Andrew Suarez, who struck out 12 batters in eight innings and didn’t allow a run. Zack Collins gave the Canes the lead in the sixth inning, by way of a solo shot to left and Miami held on for the one-run win.

Come Sunday, a dominating 10-0 performance where the Canes scored five in the third inning and never looked back. Kennedy and David Thompson led the offensive charge—with Kennedy responsible for three hits and three runs, while Thompson picked up two hits; including a three-run shot in the sixth, where Miami scored four runs.

On the mound it was Enrique Sosa who mowed down the Blue Devils for 6.1 innings, striking out three and only allowing one hit. Daniel Briggi and Ryan Otero closed out the final 2.2 innings, with Otero giving up two late hits.

Another midweek nail-biter followed, where Miami topped No. 21 Florida Atlantic, 4-3 in ten innings by way of a George Iskenderian, who smacked the first pitch he saw from Owls’ reliever Seth McGarry, driving home Ricky Eusebio for the game-winner.

A hard-fought outing against a crosstown rival seemed to rub off on the Canes, as Miami was fully prepared for visiting Virginia Tech, outscoring the Hokies, 34-6 over the three-game series.

Kennedy and Iskenderian came alive offensively in the 11-1 game one route—combining for five hits, six runs and 3 runs batted in—but equally as big was the performance from left-hander Thomas Woodrey, who there six innings of one-run ball and had a career-high seven strikeouts.

In Saturday night’s 14-4 win, Miami had an explosive seven-run fifth inning to blow things wide open. Top to bottom, the Canes’ line up was delivering. Eusebio was responsible for three RBI, Thompson and Lopez each had two key hits and Iskenderian roped a two-RBI double in that potent seventh to help extend the lead to, 11-1.

Sunday proved to be more of the same against the Hokies. Get off to a solid start offensively, while relying on another clutch pitching performance—this time from Sosa, who went seven innings only allowing three hits, one run and striking out six. At the plate, it was Thompson who led the charge for Miami with two hits, two runs and three runs batted in; including a fifth-inning home run.

Three days later, no hangover for Miami as it would take everything to knock down a top 20 Central Florida squad looking for an upset.

The Knights got on the board early with a run in the first, but the Canes bounced back, picking up one apiece in the second and third—starting with a crushing shot from Abreu off of Knights starter Robbie Howell. Abreu’s home run ball hit the parking garage in right field and immediately gave Miami a spark.

In the third, Collins smacked an RBI single to right field, bringing Iskenderian home and giving the Canes a 2-1 lead, though the Knights immediately tied things up in the top of the fourth by way of a solo shot from Tommy Williams, off of Miami starter Danny Garcia.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Canes brought it home. Singles from Brandon Lopez and Carl Chester set the stage for Kennedy, who smacked an opposite-field, would-be, game-winning single, scoring two.

From there it was up to Miami’s pitching to hold on—and it did. Garcia lasted 5.1 innings, giving up four hits and two runs while striking out three in a 93-pitch outing. Briggi came on in the sixth, lasted an inning and struck out two.

Michael Mediavilla lasted 0.2 and struck out two and didn’t allow a hit over 11 batters before Hammond and B. Garcia closed out the final two frames.

The ninth-ranked Canes take on Virginia in Charlottesville this weekend. Two weeks back the Cavaliers were No. 16 but are 3-6 since; getting knocked off by VMI midweek, swept at home by Louisville and dropping two at Georgia Tech, before this week’s 3-2 win over William & Mary.

First pitch Friday night is 6:00 p.m. ET, with both weekend games set for 1:00 p.m. ET. Miami is set to go with the Woodrey (Friday), Suarez (Saturday) and Sosa (Sunday) pitching rotation.

The Canes are currently first place in the ACC Coastal Division, second conference-wise in batting (.303) and has three hitters over the .350 mark, as well as a staff ERA of 2.99, which is third in conference.