‘Canes control Duke to clinch last series of season

Junior right-handed pitcher Andrew Walters comes in to close out the game by run ruling Presbyterian College in the top of the eighth on Sunday, May 7 at Mark Light Field. Photo credit: Reese Putnam

On Saturday, Miami baseball faced off against the No. 16 Duke Blue Devils at Mark Light Field. The No. 11 Miami Hurricanes dropped the first game of the series but won the second game in walk-off fashion. Miami ended up taking this third game, as well as the series, with an authoritative 10-1 win.

“The team never gave up,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “Duke’s playing very well right now. Their baseball team is swinging the bat pretty hot and their pitching is very good. Our guys stayed with it and never gave up. We found a way to get it done. I’m just happy and proud of our guys.”

Miami’s offense completely swamped Duke’s pitching, forcing the Blue Devils to use eight pitchers throughout the game. The collective magisterial performance on behalf of the ‘Canes consisted of three home runs, 13 hits, and a team batting average of .361.

The theatrical offensive run started early in the bottom of the third inning, as right fielder Zach Levenson stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. Almost as if it were predictable, one of Miami’s most clutch hitters annihilated the ball to left-center field to break the ice and grant Miami a 4-0 lead. This homer marked the fourth grand slam of the season for the Hurricanes, all of which were hit within the last 15 games.

The powerful hits did not end there. First baseman CJ Kayfus, who had a red-hot performance, hit a solo blast over the left field wall in the following inning. The leadoff hitter had a remarkable performance with four hits in five at-bats.

Blake Cyr, the team’s Rooke of the Year and homerun champion, hit his 16th homer of the year on a two-run shot in the seventh inning to expand the lead over the Blue Devils, 7-1. Cyr’s home run tied him for the fourth-most among freshman in the program’s history.

The Hurricanes lead the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in home runs with 106, tied for the second-most for a single season in program history.

Miami’s authority did not come only from their lineup. Despite having fewer strikeouts than the Blue Devils (35-19, 16-13 ACC), UM’s pitchers only allowed six hits and one run. Only one extra-base hit was allowed. Right-handed pitcher Ronald Gallo, received his second win after three innings pitched.

The Ron Fraser Award recipient, Andrew Walters, closed out the game and currently has a season ERA of 1.17. The closer, along with third baseman Yohandy Morales, are expected to be drafted into the MLB this upcoming July.

With this big series win against Duke, the Hurricanes (37-18, 18-12 ACC) ensured the No. 4 seed for the ACC Baseball Championship. The tournament’s pool stage will start on May 23, as Miami will have to duel against Duke and North Carolina State.