Cuvet’s two homerun afternoon powers Miami to opening ACC tournament win against Louisville, 8-5

In the extra inning loss to Louisville, junior Rafe Schlesinger pitches over 100 times in just over five innings during the April 20th game. Photo credit: Charisma Jones

The Miami Hurricanes arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina as an 11 seed in the ACC tournament, needing a magical run to have its name called on Selection Sunday.

In group B of pool play, the ‘Canes opened the competition against the No. 7 seed Louisville Cardinals, who took the season series against UM back in April.

In a late morning showdown against the Cardinals at Truist Field, Miami freshman Daniel Cuvet announced himself to the rest of the country, smashing two three-run home runs, leading the way for the Hurricanes to take the opening game of the tournament, winning 8-5.

Facing Evan Webster, the Hurricanes jumped on the senior pitcher right away, forcing the Cardinals to pull him after one inning of work.

In the top of the first, with two runners on and no one out, Cuvet launched his 22nd home run of the season into the seats in right field, getting UM out to an early 3-0 lead.

On the mound in Charlotte was Rafe Schlesinger, who, for the most part, held the Louisville bats at bay, keeping Miami’s lead intact. In 5.2 innings of work, the junior lefty surrendered three runs on six hits, and struck out five Cardinal batters.

After scraping a run off Schlesinger in the third and fifth frames, the Hurricanes only led by one, needing some insurance runs to fend off a Louisville team on the bubble in the NCAA tournament.

In the top of the sixth, Lucas Costello powered his seventh home run of the season off the scoreboard in left field, extending the lead to two and giving UM some much needed breathing room.

A few batters later, shortstop JD Urso smacked an RBI single to left field, bringing home Carlos Perez to bring the lead back to three.

With Webster out after one inning of work, Louisville turned to sophomore Patrick Forbes to keep Miami’s lead at three. In five innings of relief, Forbes battled, allowing two runs on five hits to keep the Cardinals in striking distance of the Hurricanes.

In the top of the seventh, Cuvet put the game out of reach against the Cardinals. With two on and no one out, the third baseman crushed his second home run of the game off the scoreboard in left field, allowing Miami to hold an 8-3 lead.

Cuvet’s 23rd long ball of the season ties Pat Burrell record set back in 1996 for the most home runs in a season as a freshman, continuing a historic campaign for the Fort Lauderdale native.

While trying to maintain arms for No. 2 seed Clemson, UM head coach J.D. Arteaga turned to sophomore reliever Myles Caba to pitch the final three innings of the game. Caba battled, throwing 58 pitches in 3.1 innings of work and striking out five batters to finish the game and picking up the save.

Miami looks to keep its tournament hopes alive with a matchup against the No. 2 seed and No. 3 nationally ranked Clemson Tigers. The Hurricanes likely need to win the ACC tournament in order to get a bid on Selection Sunday and will have its ace Gage Ziehl on the mound on Thursday.

Ziehl was nothing short of dominant in his last game against the Tigers, striking out 15 batters in a complete game. UM will need something similar from its ace to keep playing in the postseason.

First pitch will be at 11 a.m. at Truist Field in Charlotte, North Carolina. The game will be broadcasted on the ACC Network.