Things couldn’t have gone much better for the Miami Hurricanes this season. They were winners in 27 of their last 30 games, winners of the ACC Coastal Division, and were the No. 1 in the ACC Tournament. But on Wednesday, those same Hurricanes came out on the wrong end of a back and forth affair, falling to ninth-seeded Georgia Tech 6-3 in Pool A play in their tournament opener.
Miami held a 3-1 lead heading into the seventh inning before the afternoon fell apart. Georgia Tech tied the game with two runs in the seventh and added two more in the eighth for the game’s go-ahead runs before tacking on an insurance run in the ninth for a 6-3 lead.
The Hurricanes got off to a great start, striking first in the bottom of the third on a solo home run from Dale Carey, his seventh of the season. After Georgia Tech tied the game in the top of the fifth, Miami responded right back in the bottom half of the inning with two more runs on RBI singles from Tyler Palmer and Zack Collins to push their lead to 3-1.
Miami starter Andrew Suarez also cruised through the first six innings before committing an error in the top of the seventh that eventually allowed Georgia Tech to tie the game at three. Then the bullpen, which had been reliable for so much of the season, came apart in the game’s final two innings.
Cooper Hammond surrendered a two-RBI single to Brandon Gold in the eighth that gave the Yellow Jackets a 5-3 advantage and their first lead of the game. Thomas Woodrey didn’t fair much better, giving up another RBI single in the ninth, this one to Matt Gonzalez, which put Georgia Tech in front 6-3.
“The way things have been going lately, I felt really good when we jumped up 3-1 and Andy [Suarez] was throwing outstanding, and our bullpen has been great all year,” Miami coach Jim Morris said. “You have to be feeling good with that and the defense that we play. But baseball is a game where you have to play nine innings, there is no clock to run out. You have to play it to the end.”
Morris’s squad became just the second team in the last 29 ACC tournaments to lose its opening game as the No. 1 seed. Miami hasn’t lost back-to-back games since March 24 though when it dropped two straight to Virginia. That ended a stretch where the Hurricanes dropped five of seven games before reeling off 27 wins in their next 30 games to end the regular season.
“We've been hot lately,” said Carey, who finished 3-for-4. “Just because we dropped one today doesn’t mean we can’t start another streak, and that’s what we plan on doing.”
Miami will try and put that plan in motion on Thursday when it continues pool play against Clemson at 7 PM.