Two weekends ago, we saw that when they are playing well, they can beat dominate just about anyone.
This was proven in their series sweep against North Carolina.
Then this past weekend, we saw the other extreme. Miami can be beaten by inferior competition when they can’t come up with a big hit and can’t get a big out from their bullpen.
That’s exactly what happened as they lost two of three to an average Virginia Tech club.
Things started well enough on Friday night. The Hurricanes did just about everything they needed to do to get off to a good start.
Eric Erickson was his typical self. He kept hitters off-balance and battled his way to a good start. The offense found a way to chase the VT starter, Joe Mantiply, relatively early and then continued to score against a somewhat suspect Hokies bullpen. It’s no surprise, then, that UM came out on top 6-4.
Saturday started pretty similarly.
Eric Whaley didn’t give up a run until the fourth and continued to battle even after the Hokie offense began to square him up. The Miami offense also did their part early on and chased the Virginia Tech starter, Marc Zecchino, before he could get out of the fifth inning.
But things began to unravel after that point.
Hurricane batters only reached base twice against the VT bullpen the rest of the way and the Miami bullpen allowed the Hokies to claw their way to some runs late in the game. Adam Sargent, the pitcher saddled with the loss, failed to even retire a batter before he gave up the walk-off run in the ninth.
On Sunday, the Hurricane offense failed to show up at all against a pretty mediocre starting pitcher in Andrew Aizenstadt. Aizenstadt came into the game with an ERA well over 5.00.
They only managed four hits in total and they didn’t plate a run until their half of the ninth inning. The only real positive offensively was that Chantz Mack stayed piping hot and drove in two more runs.
It looked like their offensive struggles wouldn’t really matter, though, because the Miami starter, Steven Ewing, was matching Aizenstadt pitch for pitch.
Ewing’s sparkling outing (8 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) all went for naught as E.J. Encinosa blew a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning. Encinosa has mixed dominating performances with disastrous outings all season long and this weekend was no different.
The Hurricanes will return home to Coral Gables staggering from their losses, but they will have no time to feel sorry for themselves. They have a huge ACC series against Florida State looming this weekend, but before that they have a tough midweek game at home Wednesday against Stetson, perennially one of the toughest mid-major squads in country.