The Miami Hurricanes won their seventh straight series this past weekend, sweeping the Duke Blue Devils with a 4-3 victory on Sunday. Miami has now won 15 straight games on the road, the longest current streak in the nation, and four straight series away from Coral Gables for the first time in program history.
Duke led 3-1 entering the sixth inning before Miami rallied to tie the game. Dale Carey, who went 3-for-5 on the day, led off the frame with a double and later scored on another double by Tyler Palmer to pull the Hurricanes to within a run. Freshman Zack Collins then hit Miami’s third double of the inning off of Duke pitcher Michael Matuella to plate Palmer and tie the game 3-3.
The Hurricanes later took their first lead of the game in the eighth against the Blue Devils’ bullpen. After putting runners on the corners, Brandon Lopez hit a single to put Miami in front 4-3 to complete the rally. Reliever Bryan Garcia then shut the door in the eighth and the ninth for his 14th save of the season, giving Miami its 12th one-run victory of the season.
“I think that's something you develop as you do it,” Miami coach Jim Morris said about his team's mentality. “They're playing with confidence, they believe they're going to come back and win if they're down, and they believe that if they have the lead, they're going to keep it.”
That confidence and belief has now moved Miami up to No. 7 in this week’s Baseball America rankings, just behind No. 4 Florida State and No. 1 Virginia in the ACC. The Hurricanes have one more three-game series left in the regular season this weekend against the North Carolina Tar Heels, which runs from Thursday-Saturday at Mark Light field.
While Sunday was full of dramatics, no rallying was needed Friday or Saturday night as the Hurricanes cruised to 6-1 and 9-1 victories over the Blue Devils. Starter Chris Diaz pitched eight strong innings on Friday and allowed just one earned run to improve his record to 9-0 this season. Diaz also received instant run support as the Hurricanes scored three runs in the top of the first.
“It's always nice,” Diaz said of pitching with a lead. “These guys have done a great job, especially on Friday nights for me. With that first inning, my job became a lot easier - I just had to throw strikes and attack the hitters.”
Collins and Willie Abreu made his job even that much easier, combining to finish 5-for-9 with two runs scored and four RBI.
“It felt great to be able to give him some runs tonight. Every time someone scores, we look to Chris,” Collins said. “He's the type of pitcher that - no matter what he has - he comes in that next inning and battles. He always gets the job done.”
Andrew Suarez followed Diaz’s lead on Saturday with another stellar outing for Miami, allowing just one earned run over seven innings. The Hurricanes took a 3-1 lead into the eighth before breaking the game open with a six-run inning that included a grand slam by Carey, his sixth home run of the season. Carey finished the series going 6-for-14 with three runs scored and six RBI.