Miami splits Sunday doubleheader against Georgia Tech, wins series

The National Anthem is sung moments before the Miami Hurricanes open a three-game series against Georgia Tech on April 21 at Mark Light Field. Photo credit: Annika Alves

The Miami Hurricanes played a Sunday doubleheader against Georgia Tech after inclement weather postponed baseball on Saturday. No. 17 Miami won the first game of the day 9-7 and dropped the second game 9-5 in six innings at Mark Light Field.

In the first game between the ACC foes, the Hurricanes sprung out to an early 3-2 advantage as the team grabbed its bats to hit in the fifth inning. A usual circumstance, freshman Blake Cyr lifted a three-run home run over the right center field fence to separate the scores. The second baseman’s teamleading 11th home run of the season gave Miami a 6-2 advantage.

“It’s nice when everything is clicking together,” Cyr said. “Everybody’s confidence in the lineup just goes through the roof and we all feed off of each other.”

Miami starter Karson Ligon went four innings in his first April start. The right-hander allowed two runs on six hits, walking a batter and striking out three in 72 pitches. Ligon was relieved by College of Central Florida transfer Ben Chestnutt, sophomore Alejandro Torres and closer Andrew Walters.

Georgia Tech (22-18, 8-13 ACC) starter and two-way player Jackson Finley gave up three runs in two innings before switching assignments to the designated hitter spot, where he would finish 1-for-5 with an RBI. Finley was relieved by the 6-foot-3 righty Ben King and three other Yellow Jackets.

Though Miami (25-15, 12-9 ACC) led 9-2 after six, Georgia Tech never gave up. The Atlanta based team countered with a threerun seventh and a tworun eighth.

In a sudden save situation, Walters entered for Miami in the eighth and stopped the Yellow Jackets rally. Earning the necessary four outs for the 9-7 win, Walters picked up his fifth save of the season with 14 pitches.

Chestnutt (5-0) was credited with the win while Finley (1-4) was tagged with the loss.

In a much shorter game two, Georgia Tech held a 9-5 lead after six innings, good enough for victory as the Yellow Jackets hit their travel curfew.

Unlike the first game, Miami trailed early. Starter Alejandro Rosario allowed six runs to come across, giving up eight hits in 2.2 innings of work.

The Yellow Jackets’ offense did much of the damage in the third. Senior Angelo Dispigna singled to center, driving home outfielder Jake DeLeo and leadoff hitter Kristian Campbell. Then, junior John Giesler hit a homer to left to clear the bases and score two.

RBI hits in the fourth from outfielder Edgardo Villegas and third baseman Yohandy Morales closed the gap. The 6-foot-4 infielder Morales finished with four total RBI on the day.

I gotta give credit to the guys in front of me and behind me in the lineup,” Morales said. “Zach [Levenson’s] been getting it done, protecting me this whole season. Its been great having guys in front of me get on base and letting me do my job and drive them in.”

Georgia Tech earned two of the runs back in the sixth with an RBI triple from right fielder Stephen Reid and a single from Dispigna to score Reid from third.

Finishing the job for right-handed starter Terry Busse, who went 3.1 innings, junior Dawson Brown (2-2) earned the win for Georgia Tech as he pitched 2.2 innings, allowing only one run on three hits in 39 pitches. Rosario was hit with the loss (2-4) in the 9-5 defeat.

“It’s a tough game to manage because you’re looking at the clock,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “In baseball, you shouldn’t be looking at the clock. It’s not a normal thing, but we have to deal with it. We’ve gotta get out to a good start in these games. You can’t fall behind because that makes it even more difficult in those situations.”

The Hurricanes will look ahead to a home midweek matchup with FAU at 6 p.m. on Tuesday night before another ACC road trip to Louisville for a three-game series that begins Thursday.