Coming off the loss to Georgia Tech in their tournament opener, the Hurricanes dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to Clemson in their second game.
You had a feeling all game it was going to be a tight finish and it most certainly was. Miami jumped out to a 2-0 lead early, only to see that lead shrink to 2-1 a half-inning later, and eventually disappear altogether in the sixth when Jon McGibbon tied the game with a solo homer.
Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Steve Wilkerson singled home the winning run to seal the game for Clemson, seal the 1600th career win for head coach Jack Leggett, and likely seal the program's at-large berth in the NCAA tournament.
It's not like they gave up a ton of runs, but the pitching for Miami just wasn't all that sharp, starting with Chris Diaz. He threw 4.1 innings, giving up five hits and one run with five walks and two strikeouts.
Cooper Hammond came in to relieve him and he was touched up for a run yet again. That's two outings in a row for him. Thomas Woodrey bounced back to throw two scoreless, but then closer Bryan Garcia gave up the winning run. While I don't think it's anything to be alarmed about, it's a bit jarring that a bullpen that was no impenetrable in the regular season has been hit around a little in the ACC Tournament.
Offensively, Dale Carey was fantastic, but he got very little help once again. He went 4-for-5 on the day, which was good for half of Miami's total hits. The rest of the team was a combined 4-for-29.
Of course, the offensive struggles can be explained due to who they were facing. Clemson's Daniel Gossett was outstanding. He threw 8.1 innings, giving up seven hits and two runs with two walks and eight strikeouts.
McGibbon, Chris Okey, and Steven Duggar each had two hits for Clemson and Wilkerson had three. The win in relief for Drew Moyer pushes his record to 5-1. Bryan Garcia got the loss; he is 5-4.
In what will be their finale in the ACC Tournament, the Hurricanes will take on Duke Saturday morning. The Blue Devils are 1-1 in the tournament. They dropped their opener to Clemson 5-3 before defeating Georgia Tech 6-0 in their second game.
Miami will throw Bryan Radziewski. B-Rad is 7-2 on the season with a 3.14 ERA. Duke will counter with Trent Swart. He is 5-2 on the season with a 1.49 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .208 against him.
Make no mistake about it; Miami is going to get Duke's best shot. If the Blue Devils emerge victorious, they will advance to the ACC championship game on Sunday. With an NCAA Tournament resume that sits just outside of what a usual at-large resume looks like, it's their only shot at getting in.
Game time is set for 11:00 am.