Tar Heels stomp all over Canes, sweep three-game series

The University of Miami baseball team lost three close games by a combined margin of seven runs to UNC despite getting strong pitching efforts from their three weekend starters.

The Canes were swept for the first time in over two years. The last time they lost all three games in a weekend series was ironically against North Carolina in Chapel Hill in March of 2007.

No. 7 UM (26-13, 11-10) was unable to get the big hit as UNC (31-10, 13-7) opened up their newly constructed baseball stadium in style.

The Canes have dropped to fourth place in the Coastal Division.

Friday night featured a classic pitcher’s duel between sophomore Chris Hernandez and junior Alex White. Hernandez was solid in a losing effort pitching 6.2 innings allowing just two earned runs and six strikeouts. But Hernandez was out done by the reigning ACC Pitcher of the Year. White threw a gem as he tossed a complete game one hit shutout en route to a 3-0 victory. White struck out 10 and walked one. He only faced one batter over the minimum.

That was the third time this year the Canes have been held to less than three hits in a game. The Canes only mustered one hit against Ohio State back on March 24 and just two hits last Saturday night against Clemson.

Saturday afternoon the Canes squandered two leads, one early and one late and ultimately lost in extra innings 5-4. The Canes jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning but the Tar Heels responded with three runs in the fourth. The Canes scored in the top of the seventh on a Ryan Jackson RBI ground out to take a 4-3 lead.

UNC catcher hit a leadoff triple to start the eighth inning against Miami freshman pitcher Sam Robinson. Nathan Melendres and Chris Herrmann both dove for the ball in left center field but neither was able to come up with the ball, and the ball trickled all the way to the wall. The Heels would tie the game on a sac fly two batters later.

Miami had their chances in the top of the 10th inning but stranded two runners. In the bottom of the 10th inning, UNC third baseman Kyle Seager hit a leadoff triple against junior Kyle Bellamy who had already thrown 1.2 innings. The ensuing hitter, catcher Mark Fleury hit a walk-off single in the right center field gap to clinch the series victory.

Sunday sophomore starter Iden Nazario was valiant in a losing effort. He pitched 5.1 innings allowing eight hits and three runs.

The difference in the game came down to clutch hitting. UNC had six hits with two outs compared to the Hurricanes one as the Canes lost 4-1.

The Canes next game is Wednesday against Florida Gulf Coast at 6 p.m. That game can be heard on 90.5 FM WVUM.