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No. 16 Miami sweeps Boston College in ACC opening series

The No. 16 Miami Hurricanes continued rolling this weekend, sweeping Boston College at home with three days of stellar pitching just days after Javi Salas threw a perfect game against Villanova Tuesday night.

Miami kicked off the series by winning its ACC opener 6-2 Friday night behind four RBI from shortstop Brandon Lopez and a strong outing from starting pitcher Chris Diaz.

Lopez went 2-for-4 and drove in Miami’s first two runs with a triple in the second inning and later drove in two more with a single in the sixth to increase the lead to 5-1. Both hits were clutch, coming with two outs in each inning as Lopez tied a career-high with four RBI.

“I just tried to stay with the approach,” Lopez said. “I’ve been working with [hitting coach Gino DiMare] in the cages. I was able to hit it to the right side, and I was able to get those two base knocks with two outs so it was a great feeling.”

Diaz was stellar on the mound, giving up just two runs on five hits through a season-high 7 1/3 innings to improve his record to 4-0.

“I felt like I was attacking hitters and pitching to my strength,” Diaz said. “Brandon had a great game and so did all of our defense. When that's happening, it helps a pitcher out. I trust them.”

Alex Hernandez and Willie Abreu also went 2-for-4 with a run scored in Friday’s win. Abreu drove in Hernandez with a single in the seventh that put the Hurricanes ahead 6-2.

Miami continued swinging Saturday night, taking the series with a 5-2 victory. Bryan Radziewski went seven innings, striking out eight batters while surrendering just three hits. The lefthander was fantastic from the start, retiring 10 of the first 11 batters he faced.

“I was just thinking not to walk anybody,” Radziewski said. “I had three walks today, that’s what I’ve been focusing on. We all know the start at Florida State I walked three straight batters. “I just tried to be more in the zone, pitch to contact, and it worked out for me.”

Radziewski had one hiccup the fifth inning when he gave up two runs on 31 pitches and allowed Boston College to take its first lead of the series at 2-1. The lineup picked up its starter right away in the bottom half of the inning though as Brad Fieger tied the game with a two-out double to drive in Dale Carey, who stole second after being hit by a pitch.

The Hurricanes scored three more runs in the sixth and took the lead for good on an RBI single by Lopez that scored Abreu, who beat a throw at the plate to put Miami ahead 3-2. Abreu scored two runs and went 2-for-3 with a walk.

“I have a passion for the game,” Abreu said. “I love the game and I love my teammates. Every time we're able to get a big run, I'm super excited, and I make sure everyone knows.”

Bryan Garcia picked up his fourth save of the season with his third two-inning save of the season.

It wasn’t as easy Sunday afternoon though as Miami had to hold off a late rally by Boston College to pick up a 4-3 win to finish off the sweep and extend its winning streak to five games. It was Miami’s first sweep against an ACC school since it swept North Carolina back on April 6-8, 2012.

“It’s good to see a lot of guys contribute throughout the series, whether it was some of the hitters or the pitching, and of course, Bryan Garcia getting the save and pitching well in this series too so it’s great to start off this way,” Miami coach Jim Morris said.

Starting pitcher Andy Suarez continued Miami’s stretch of great pitching, retiring the first 13 batters he faced before surrendering a walk and single in the fifth inning. He was stellar on the mound, allowing just one unearned run on four hits in seven innings of work to cap off a great week for the Hurricanes.

“This was a huge week,” Suarez said. “At Florida State, a lot of us didn't pitch well. Coming back when we started playing Villanova, our pitchers did good and I feel like for the rest of the season we're going to be good.”

After a scoreless game through five innings, Miami (10-5, 3-0) finally plated some runs in the sixth against pitcher Jeff Burke. The Hurricanes struck for four runs on three hits and an error by the Eagles to take a 4-0 lead. David Thompson had a big day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with an RBI while Fieger continued to swing the bat well, going 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

Boston College (6-9, 0-3) rallied against Miami’s bullpen in the eighth with two runs to cut the lead to 4-3 before Garcia came in to pick up his fifth save of the season, his fourth requiring more than an inning.

“It feels good that coach Morris has the confidence to bring me in in the eighth and know that I’m going to be able to get both innings done and it feels good to get the win,” Garcia said.

Miami will be back at Mark Light Field on Tuesday to face Bethune-Cookman at 6 PM.

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