Yohandy Morales highfives Anthony Vilar.

Yohandy Morales highfives Anthony Vilar.                                                           

Our Canes faced an excellent Virginia Tech team this weekend at Mark Light Field and lost two of three.

Even after Collegiate Baseball ranked UM #1 after taking two of three from the consensus top ranked Gators, I wrote in last week’s column that we have a good team that could develop into a great team but we are not there yet. We are not hitting.

In Friday night’s 5-3 loss we had only 6 hits , all singles and struck out 11 times. We had a 2-0 lead after one but could not sustain, going down 5-2 after 2 1/2 and never threatening after that.

Bright spots were Anthony Villar going 2 for 2 and Jake Garland going 3 innings in relief allowing no runs, no hits, one walk and five strikeouts. On to game two Saturday night when Miami showed a little of what they can be.

Starting pitcher Freshman Alejandro Rosario was outstanding. He went 7 innings, giving up only 3 hits with 1 walk and 7 Ks in Miami’s 3-0 win.

Ben Wanger and Carson Palmquist each had a shutout inning closing down the Hokies. Again we had a great first inning, scoring all three of our runs but could not score the rest of the way.

Yohandy Morales was 2-3 with 1 run and 1 RBI , Adrian Del Castillo was 2-4 with a run and Adam Frank went 1-3 with 2 RBIs. We had only 7 hits in the game with 4 coming in the first inning.

Game three Sunday afternoon followed script. Canes took a 2-0 lead after one, were tied after three, went up 4-2 after five, tied after 5 1/2 , up 6-4 after six, down 7-6 after seven and 9-6 at games end.

Although our pitching did not hold up Sunday there were some bright spots on the offensive side, Yohandy Morales continues to impress. YoMo hit his first Miami HR and went 2-4 with 3 RBI. Christian Del Castillo was 3-4 with 2 RBI and both Adrian Del Castillo and Villar had two hits.

Miami is now 3-3 and ranked #9 nationally in this week’s Collegiate Baseball ranks. Bad news is we have only three batters hitting over .250, Morales .370 , C Del C .333 and A Del C .320. Good news is that we have proven veteran hitters that will come around as our 2021 Canes continue their work towards a spot in Omaha in June. I’m buying in!

LADY CANES ON A ROLL HEADING TO ACC TOURNAMENT

Miami’s Women are now 11-10 after three straight wins, two coming this week. In a close-every-minute 69-67 win over Wake Forest, Destiny Harden led the way with 15 points on 6-10 shooting. Kelsey Marshall and Naomi Mbandu both added 12 and Endia Banks had 11 shooting 5-8.

In Miami’s regular season finale’s 68-62 win over Clemson, ACC Player of the Week Harden had 21 on 9-15, Banks 13 and Marshall 12.

Congratulations Destiny  and good luck to all our Ladies when they face Virginia Tech Thursday 3/4 in the ACC Conference Championship Tournament.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

I am and we all should be proud of the hard work, effort and determination our players (still left standing) are giving us game in and game out.

Coaches Jim Larranaga, Chris Caputo, Adam Fisher and Bill Courtney put together a team capable of challenging for the ACC title and making a deep, even final four run in the NCAAs ........ then came injury after injury destroying our championship chances but never our groups pride in their performance and competitiveness.

Our starters are all playing 36+ minutes a game and in the high intensity of ACC basketball it’s astonishing what Isaiah Wong, Kam McGusty, Anthony Walker, Elijah Olaniyi and Nysier Brooks have accomplished, keeping UM competing while so disadvantaged.

Kudos also to Deng Gak, Flip Ckogkos and Willie Herenton for their contributions. Chris Lykes, Sam Waardenburg and Rod Miller are our seniors that never had a chance to live out the well deserved dreams I’m sure they had yet were at every game encouraging and supporting their teammates. I’m especially heartbroken for those three and wish them great success in their futures even as a part of me hopes to see them again in uniform at the Watsco Center.

Harlond Beverly and Earl Timberlake never were completely healthy this year. Both tried to play and did very well at times and deserve much respect for putting their bodies on the line for the Miami program.

Let’s hope we close out the regular season with a win over Boston College on Friday and go on to scare some teams in the ACC Tournament next week.

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