Hurricanes escape with narrow 2-1 victory on Saturday, but fall in series finale on Sunday

Alex Toral awaits a throw to first base as a BC player runs to first base. The Canes lost the series 2-1 to the Eagles. Photo credit: John Quackenbos/BC Athletics
Alex Toral awaits a throw to first base as a BC player runs to first base. The Canes lost the series 2-1 to the Eagles.
Alex Toral awaits a throw to first base as a BC player runs to first base. The Canes lost the series 2-1 to the Eagles. Photo credit: John Quackenbos/BC Athletics

The Boston College Eagles welcomed the Hurricanes to the Harrington Athletics Village on Friday night and gave them a rude awakening, blowing them out 13-0 in what proved to be an uncharacteristic loss for Miami.

However, the Canes bounced back in Saturday afternoon’s action to even the series with a tightly contested battle that favored UM with a final score of 2-1.

Miami’s win was strongly backed by a strong, steady start from pitcher Alex McFarlane, who did what no other Hurricane was able to do Friday night: keep the Eagles off the scoreboard.

To McFarlane’s credit, he was able to silence Boston College’s offensive outburst by turning in a magnificent five-inning start in which he gave up only three hits and struck out a career-high five hitters.

“The starter sets the tone and when you fall behind a lot of runs, it can be tough, especially if you’re not swinging the bat the way you’d like to,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “That was really big for us to get that start from Alex.”

While McFarlane didn’t receive much run support from the Miami bats, it was just enough to carry the Hurricanes over the hump and pull through with a narrow one-run victory.

The lineup didn’t strike often, but they did score early, tacking on their first run of the ballgame in the top half of the first.

Anthony Vilar was walked early in the frame, and then advanced to third on a single up the middle from Yohandy Morales. Adrian Del Castillo then pulled a ground ball to the right side that forced Eagles first baseman Jack Cunningham to stray away from the first base bag. Starting pitcher Mason Pelio covered the bag and recorded the putout, but Vilar was able to score on the play to give the Hurricanes an early 1-0 lead.

In the fourth, Raymond Gil added an insurance run with an RBI single to right to score Adrian Del Castillo, but otherwise McFarlane and Pelio fought a well-contested pitchers’ duel early in the ballgame.

“We didn’t expect to get five innings, but Alex threw a lot of quick innings and got some double plays there and just kept his pitch count really down,” DiMare said.

McFarlane was pulled in the sixth inning, and DiMare turned to Spencer Bodanza on the mound. In 1.1 innings of work, Bodanza was perfect and recorded two strikeouts. Daniel Federman then closed out the seventh before handing the ball to Carson Palmquist to close out the eighth and ninth innings.

Palmquist was as good as advertised in the eighth, retiring the side in order and punching out two hitters, but the Eagles broke through in the ninth and created stress on the base paths for Miami’s closer.

Sal Frelick led off the inning with a double down the left field line and scored on a clutch two-out RBI hit from Luke Gold. With the winning run at the plate in Cunningham, Palmquist punched him out to record his 10th save of the season and secure a much-needed win for the Hurricanes.

“This win is big. To think that we got shut out with the score that it was yesterday, and today we had a chance to shut them out, baseball is a crazy game,” DiMare said. “I’m proud of our guys for responding after what was obviously a tough loss yesterday.”

On Sunday, the Hurricanes showed flashed of resilience against Boston College, but yet again, Miami’s vanished hitting and Boston College’s ability to knock in timely RBI late decided the series in a rubber contest that ultimately favored the Eagles in their 15-hit performance.

After a low-scoring affair the day prior, Boston College smothered Miami 11-6.

A rocky start from right-hander Jake Garland (5-2) put Miami (24-15, 15-14 Atlantic Coast Conference) in an almost-inescapable hole after 1 2/3 innings, in which the freshman allowed seven earned runs and eight hits.

Boston College second baseman Cody Morissette ignited the Eagles’ early offensive attack with a one-out single up the middle to score center fielder Sal Frelick, who led off with a triple to left center field.

The second inning only got worse for Garland, as designated hitter Luke Gold raked a two-RBI double down the left field line. First baseman Jack Cunningham capped off the six-run frame with a single through the right side, scoring Gold.

DiMare signaled for sophomore right-hander Jake Smith, who helped stop the bleeding after a one-hit midweek start and his first win as a Hurricane.

The Chapel Hill, North Carolina native struck out seven, eventually slowing the Eagles’ attack despite two additional earned runs.

Trailing by seven in the third, the Miami bats appeared as the Boston College lead quickly began to evaporate. A solo home run from freshman catcher Carlos Perez, the first of his collegiate career, led to a two-RBI single by Morales to slice the deficit to 7-3.

Gil made it a two-run ballgame, hitting a two-out double to center field, as Morales and redshirt junior catcher Christian Del Castillo scored.

Having set a new season-best with four hits, Gold had an answer in the fourth, however.

The Eagles’ second-best hitter homered down the right field line to make it 9-5, as junior reliever Spencer Bodanza entered with one out in the bottom of the fifth.

A leadoff triple from Perez, who finished 2-for-4, gave sophomore left fielder Jordan Lala a chance to spark another Canes rally at the plate. The former leadoff hitter grounded out to first base as Perez scored UM’s only run of the sixth.

Answering the call once again in the bottom half of the inning, Gold tripled to center field off freshman Andrew Walters, as Morissette came home to extend the Eagles’ lead to 10-6.

A nine-pitch top half of the seventh for Boston College reliever in Charlie Coon kept Miami’s scoring hopes out of reach.

Junior right fielder Gabe Rivera singled to center field in the eighth, though Vilar lined out to leave Miami’s seventh runner stranded.

Hitting .345 on the season, Gold then delivered the exclamation point with a double to left field as Frelick scored once again.

Coon’s third and final inning of relief mirrored what had transpired in the top of the seventh, as the southpaw only needed seven pitches to give the Eagles the series victory and garner his second save of the year.

Boston College graduate Alex Stiegler (2-2) tossed six innings and allowed six earned runs, though registered the win.

The Hurricanes used four arms in the loss, relinquishing 15 hits and four walks.

Miami will look towards its second non-conference series Friday against Appalachian State. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.

This story was reported by Daniel Toll and Wyatt Kopelman.