Miami’s midweek troubles continue in 6-4 loss to FAU

Senior right-handed pitcher Ben Chestnutt throws a pitch during Miami's game against Stonehill at Mark Light Field on March 6, 2024. Photo credit: Alexandra Fisher

In their first road contest of the season, the Miami Hurricanes continued to struggle during the middle of the week. On Tuesday evening, the ‘Canes bullpen was unable to slow the Florida Atlantic Owls (FAU) offense, as UM dropped its third midweek game of the year, losing 6-4 at FAU Baseball Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida.

In the top of the ninth, FAU reliever Braden Ostrander shut down any hope of a comeback for the Hurricanes. Ostrander retired the side in order, getting Dorian Gonzalez Jr., Jason Torres and Jack Scanlon out on just 11 pitches, allowing the Owls to take the first of four games against their South Florida opponent.

UM had an opportunity to score some valuable runs in the sixth inning. Following back-to-back walks, freshman Daniel Cuvet was due up with two outs down two. Replacing Danny Trehey, FAU brought in Steven Andrews to face Miami’s best batter. On a 2-2 count, Andrews struck out Cuvet, holding the score at 5-3.

After utilizing a chunk of its pitching over the weekend against No. 13 Virginia, UM chose to rely on its bullpen this evening, with redshirt freshman Ashton Crowther getting the nod.

The lefty had some difficulty against the Owls’ offense in his first career start. Crowther, who usually comes out of the bullpen, struck out five batters but walked four and surrendered five runs on six hits in 3.2 innings of work. FAU scored at least one run in the first four innings of the game, all with Crowther on the mound.

For the sixth game in a row, the Hurricanes had to start from behind. In the bottom of the first, with the bases loaded, FAU first baseman Emilio Gonzalez sent Crowther’s pitch right back his way, hitting the lefty and ricocheting the ball toward second base. While Crowther was alright, a run was able to score and an out was not recorded, allowing the Owls to take an early 1-0 lead.

Earlier in the season, Miami head coach J.D. Arteaga told reporters that the team’s philosophy at the plate was to not rely on the long ball. This season, the Hurricanes happen to be one of the most home-run-dependent teams in the nation, ranking in the top 10 in home runs.

The trend of relying on home runs continued this evening, with two of the four UM runs being four-baggers. In the third inning, Cuvet smashed his ninth home run of the season over the wall in right-center field. Scanlon jacked his third dinger of the year to right-center the next inning.

After FAU starter Zach Abbey’s day was done after three innings, the Owls bullpen shut down the Miami offense. Trehey, Andrews and Ostrander surrendered just one run in six dominant innings of work, with Ostrander shutting the door in the ninth.

Last season, Miami finished the season with a 10-3 record during midweek games. This year, the ‘Canes have already matched their losses from the season before just four midweek games into the season.

Miami’s schedule does not get any easier, as it heads back home for a weekend series against the No. 15 North Carolina Tar Heels. Friday starter Gage Ziehl is slated to take the bump on Friday against lefty Folger Boaz. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.