Blue Devils mount two huge comeback efforts to defeat Hurricanes in 11 innings

Freshman infielder Daniel Cuvet sprints to second base for a double in Miami’s game versus Clemson University at Mark Light Field on March 30, 2024. Photo credit: Emily Rice

When it looked like Miami was going to be able to slip out of Durham with at least one win against the No. 9 ranked Blue Devils, Duke managed to come back from down six runs, and later three runs to stun UM in the series finale and complete the sweep.

The first of the two comebacks occurred in the eighth inning, as headed into the bottom of the eighth, the ’Canes were up 7-1 and looked like it had all the momentum after plating three runs in the top half.

In that inning, Duke sent 10 hitters to the plate, had four base hits, drew four free passes, faced three different Miami pitchers and scored six runs to tie the game, sucking the life out of the Hurricanes’ dugout.

Even after all of that madness, the ’Canes still had a chance to win, as the game ended up going to extra innings. The 10th frame was scoreless on both sides, but the 11th is where the madness picked right back up where it left off.

Miami punched first, scoring three runs in the top half of the 11th thanks to RBI knocks from Jacoby Long, Daniel Cuvet and Jack Scanlon.

Duke fired back in the bottom half against reliever Ben Chestnutt, drawing a walk and hitting an RBI single to get him removed from the game and cut the lead to two.

Ashton Crowther, who entered the game to replace Chestnutt, made a throwing error followed by a balk that was called on an attempted hidden ball trick by Dorian Gonzalez Jr., where the umpires claimed Crowther was on the mound when the tag was applied to the runner. The balk caused another Blue Devil to come across home plate, cutting Miami’s lead to just one.

The next batter, Wallace Clark, lined a single into left-center, driving in two runs to walk off the ’Canes and sweep the series.

In the early going, Miami was playing great due to a strong outing from starter Herick Hernandez, who threw a gem against an elite Duke offense that averages over nine runs a game. His final line was six innings pitched, one earned run, one walk and 10 strikeouts.

The offense also had a nice day, with Lorenzo Carrier coming up with two huge hits and three RBIs, including a 420-foot blast in the eighth inning.

Long and Gonzalez batted well, as each player recorded three hits. including a double and two RBIs.

Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, the bullpen could not continue Hernandez’s excellent outing, and as made obvious by the late Duke comebacks, cost UM the game.

The bullpen combined to pitch three innings, allow nine hits, walk five batters, hit two batters and give up nine runs.