Comeback effort falls short as Miami drops game two versus Duke, 5-4

Players and coaches in the Hurricane's dugout show frustration in Miami's series finale against Clemson at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field on Saturday, Mar. 30, 2024. Photo credit: Jason Hill

After falling behind 4-0 in the early going, the Hurricanes rallied all the way back and tied the game up at four in the seventh inning with an RBI double by Daniel Cuvet. Unfortunately, the Blue Devils responded in the bottom half of the inning with a run of its own, retaking the lead and holding it the rest of the way to take game two in Durham, 5-4.

The bats were hot in the early going for Duke as they got to ’Canes starter Rafe Schlesinger, quickly jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Those runs came on an RBI single from Macon Winslow and an RBI double from Zac Morris to begin the day for the Blue Devils.

Following the second inning, Duke immediately built up another threat in the third loading the bases with just one out.

A Devin Obee groundout plated a run, but Schlesinger was able to escape the third inning jam giving up just the one run with a clutch strikeout of Winslow to end the frame.

The Blue Devils plated another in the fourth, essentially marking the end of the line for Schlesinger who only was taken out after recorded just an out in the fifth.

Schlesinger was not able to ever really get going in this start as he gave up three runs and was removed from the game in the fifth inning with his pitch count already over 100 pitches. His command was clearly not on point as many pitches were left out over the heart of the plate leading to nine Duke hits of Schlesinger; something we are not accustomed to seeing from the UM Saturday starter who has been great this season.

Replacing Schlesinger was Ben Chestnutt, who up to this point in the season, has taken a step back from his production last year with an ERA over eight and approaching nine. Today, his outing started out strong as he cleaned up Schlesinger’s mess and followed it up by posting a scoreless sixth of his own.

Chestnutt was able to swing the momentum back to the Miami dugout in hopes of breaking the offensive rut the Hurricanes had been in over the last few games.

While it was not crooked numbers on the board, the offense was able to muster some runs against an elite Duke pitching staff ranked No.7 in the nation in team ERA.

Getting things going for the UM offense was Jacoby Long who led off the sixth with a double to left center. Villegas promptly followed up Long’s base hit with one of his own as he shot a single through the right side plating Long for Miami’s first run of the afternoon.

After two flyouts, Jason Torres was able to send Villegas home with a line drive up the middle cutting the Duke lead to just two.

The hitting carried over from the sixth into the seventh as Miami was able to plate two more runs and tie the game up at four. Villegas came up clutch again with an RBI groundout to plate Lorenzo Carrier, and with two outs, Cuvet was able to lace a double into the left field corner to send Long home and tie the game.

The seventh is where Chestnutt ran in to some trouble as he gave up a ground-rule double followed by a four pitch walk that brought head coach, J.D. Arteaga, out to the mound for a pitching change with nobody out.

Flamethrower Brian Walters was called on to replace Chestnutt and try to keep the game tied, but on the first pitch he threw, Blue Devils catcher, Alex Stone, hit an RBI single to give Duke the lead.

The Blue Devils were able to hold on to that without any threat from the Hurricanes the rest of the way and take game two as well as the series winning by a final score of 5-4 on Saturday afternoon.

Game three is scheduled for 1 p.m. tomorrow at Jack Coombs Field where Herrick Hernandez and Miami will look to take one game from the ninth ranked Blue Devils before coming back home to face FAU on Tuesday.