Starting pitcher Eric Erickson and catcher Peter O’Brien have nabbed All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors for their on-the-field efforts this season, but is that enough to give these Hurricanes a chance in this week’s ACC tourney or what looks to be a grueling post-season?
Miami is fresh off of a series win at Georgia Tech this past weekend. The Canes took Thursday night’s contest, 5-4, and pulled off the 8-6 victory on Friday night before falling, 2-1 in Saturday’s regular season finale.
Down 4-2 entering the bottom of the ninth in Game One, a Brad Feiger two-run single put the Canes up for good. Miami had been down 4-1 entering the eighth, where a solo shot from Stephen Perez provided a spark that carried over to the game’s final inning.
Erickson was sidelined early as an eighty-five minute rain delay in the top of the fourth had him sedentary too long to return. Erickson allowed three hits and one earned run in his short outing.
Vince Kossak and E.J. Encinosa held down the next five innings, with Eric Nedeljkovic and AJ Salcines called on in the ninth to close it out. Kossak took the worst beating, surrendering three runs, but Miami’s final three pitchers struck out three and didn’t give up a hit in the game’s final three innings.
Both teams pounced right out the gate in Game Two, tied 3-3 after one. In the fourth, Miami scored four and took a commanding 7-3 lead, but Georgia Tech answered with a three-run fifth, closing the gap to, 7-6.
The Canes tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh, going ahead by two, all but ending the Ramblin’ Wreck’s comeback attempt as they’d remain hitless the final three innings.
Miami had thirteen hits to Georgia Tech’s the three errors to their one, two of which came in the Jackets’ three-run first inning. The Canes also faltered at the plate, leaving the bases loaded in the third inning, without scoring a run.
Saturday’s finale wasn’t as close as the final 2-1 score, with Georgia Tech outhitting Miami ten-to-two en route to avoiding the sweep.
Eric Whaley pitched six and took the loss for the Canes, giving up nine hits and two runs, along with seven strikeouts. Christian Diaz and Adam Sargent closed it out, pitching two and giving up one hit, but the Miami bats iced up after the second and UM wouldn’t plate another run all day.
The Canes stranded five runners after the second inning and finished the season 34-19 and 16-14 in ACC play.
Conference tournament play starts Wednesday in Greensboro, North Carolina and the Hurricanes are seeded sixth.
First up, a showdown with third-ranked N.C. State, followed by a meeting with second-ranked North Carolina on Thursday. Friday pits Miami against seventh-ranked Wake Forest. The first two games are 3pm ET with game three’s first pitch going off at 7pm ET.
Should Miami manage to win the bracket, they’d next play in Sunday’s championship game at noon ET.
It goes without saying that a strong showing on Greesboro is needed for the Canes, who entered this past weekend’s series in Atlanta ranked No. 21 in the nation. Especially if this squad still dreams of a lesser post-season gauntlet.
The next three to four games can go a long way in setting up a tolerable regional, versus another brutal one. Tune in Wednesday for all the action from this year’s ACC Tournament.