Baseball weekend recap: Miami drops pair of games to No. 2 Wake Forest

Sophomore Edgardo Villegas hits at the bottom of the fourth during Miami’s game against FAU on Wednesday, Mar. 22 at the Mark Light Field. Photo credit: Sam Peene

This article was originally published on March 27 but is being re-published due to technical difficulties.

It was a tough weekend for ‘Canes Baseball, as they lost their three-game series in a top-20 matchup against the No. 2 Wake Forest Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

On Saturday and Sunday, the No. 17 ‘Canes came up short with 4-1 losses both days, despite strong starts. At the top of the first inning on Saturday, third baseman Yohandy Morales hit a home run, but this turned out to be the only score of the game for the ‘Canes.

The game was tied 1-1 at the bottom of the first, but the next few innings had no score, largely due to top-tier pitching by both teams. Sophomore pitcher Gage Ziehl of Miami got the start on Saturday. He was drafted to the Chicago Cubs right out of high school in 2021, and ‘Canes head coach Gino DiMare agrees that Ziehl has the ability to be a great pitcher.

“He pitched good enough to win. This is a tough ballpark to pitch in. I thought he threw outstanding and was very efficient,” DiMare said.

The ‘Canes (15-9, 5-4 ACC) came close to another score in the fourth inning with Ian Farrow at bat and a chance to load the bases. A strikeout closed that opportunity and kept the score tied.

Miami looked for another chance to load the bases and score in the fifth, but the strikeout of Edgardo Villegas, Wake Forest pitcher Sean Sullivan’s eighth strikeout of the day, ended the inning.

Wake Forest (22-3, 7-2 ACC) drilled the game-winning RBI single in the fifth, as Tommy Hawke put the Demon Deacons up 2-1.

Wake Forest brought in pitcher Cole Roland in the sixth, and pitcher Seth Keener in the eighth. The Deacons’ pitching recorded more than 10 strikeouts for the 19th game this season.

Miami brought in two new pitchers in the seventh, including freshman Chris Scinta and Miami native Alejandro Torres.

Morales faced a potentially game-ending injury in the eighth while sliding into third base, but fortunately was able to stay in the game.

Wake Forest took its first series win over Miami since 2017 following a Friday victory over the ‘Canes. Both teams came into Saturday’s game 5-2 in the ACC, and Miami had five straight wins before this series.

“Our offense has picked us up for most of the year, but we’re going through a bit of hiccup over the last two games,” DiMare said.

This hiccup continued into the game on Sunday, as Wake Forest completed the series sweep.

The great weather on Saturday did not carry into Sunday however, with a weather delay pushing first pitch back by two hours.

There was no score by either team until the top of the third, when Miami native Carlos Perez hit a home run.

A win looked possible for the ‘Canes until the fifth. A home run by Pierce Bennett allowed Wake Forest to score three runs, giving them a two-run lead over Miami.

Pitching was a problem for the ‘Canes at this point, and they went through five new pitchers throughout the rest of the game. Ultimately, their pitching cost them the game and led to Wake Forest’s win.

“We pitched well the last two games, but we didn’t get any timely hitting,” DiMare said. “Credit to them for how they pitched, but we need to do a better job, especially when we have guys on base.”

Wake Forest scored their final run in the seventh, and the game ended at the bottom of the eighth.

Miami will return home this week for a game Tuesday against Florida International University at 6 p.m.