It took two games for Miami’s bats to truly wake up, but the Canes did just enough to clinch their first series of the year.
The No. 13 Hurricanes took two of three games over Maine this weekend at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
During Opening Night on Friday, the Canes plated four runs in a wild first inning. Maine starter Tommy Lawrence loaded the bases and then surrendered four walks, which ultimately was all Miami needed to secure win No. 1.
Junior left-hander Chris Diaz (1-0) threw five strong innings to guide the Canes past the Black Bears, 6-3.
Tyler Palmer added a solo home run in the second inning, part of his 3-4 night in which he scored twice and had two RBIs.
“I’ve been hitting the ball well, seeing it well, and I took advantage of some of the counts I had,” Palmer said. “[Lawrence] had a 1-1 count when I hit the home run. He missed with a slider, came back with a fastball, and I got a good pitch to hit.”
Saturday was a different story.
The Black Bears evened the series with a 3-1 win, holding Miami to just two hits in the process.
Bryan Radziewski, the Canes’ All-American starter, blew through the lineup his first time around. The junior struck out seven of the first 10 batters he faced.
But Radziewski (0-1) ran into trouble when he was charged with two errors in the third inning. Maine capitalized with two runs on another error, this time by third baseman David Thompson.
Miami’s hitters were nearly silent, scoring just once on a double steal after freshman Laz Rivera was hit by a pitch.
“We have to swing the bat better,” coach Jim Morris said. “We can’t expect Radziewski or any of those guys to shut them out and we only score one run. We have to score some runs.”
Scott Heath tossed seven dominant frames for Maine to earn the win. Jacob Gosselin-Deschesnes closed the door with a six-out save.
The rubber match played out Sunday afternoon, and 2,726 fans were in attendance for the first pitch at noon.
The Hurricanes erupted early on, plating eight runs in the first three innings alone.
Miami’s young lineup – four freshmen recorded their first career hits on Sunday – had six extra-base hits and showed a lot of promise during the 11-2 win.
“That’s the way I expected this team to play,” Morris said. “They practice as hard as any team I’ve had at Miami, and we were as well-prepared coming into the season as anyone.”
Andrew Suarez (1-0) held the Black Bears at bay during the series clincher. He struck out a career-best 10 batters in five innings of work.
“I felt like [Maine] wasn’t catching up to my fastball,” Suarez said. “I threw a lot of fastballs and mixed in some sliders because they have a lot of lefties. I worked on keeping the ball low and trusting my defense.”
On Wednesday, Florida Atlantic will be in town for a midweek game at 6 p.m.
Then, the 23rd-ranked Florida Gators will visit Mark Light Field for a crucial rivalry matchup with the Canes. That series begins Friday at 7 p.m.