No. 15 Miami beats Duke, extends road winning streak to 14 games
DURHAM, N.C. -- Andrew Suarez delivered seven dominant innings on the mound, Dale Carey belted the Hurricanes first grand slam in two years, and No. 5 Miami clinched its series against Duke with an impressive 9-1 victory on Saturday.
The Hurricanes, who extended the nation's longest road winning streak to 14 games with the decision, overcame Blue Devils ace Trent Swart to capture their sixth consecutive ACC series and seventh overall.
Miami has reeled off wins in 24 of its last 26 games.
"A lot of people think Duke's starting rotation is as good as anybody's in our conference -- they're really good," said head coach Jim Morris. "I thought our team played really well overall and took advantage of some big opportunities. It was a really good team win."
Carey's eighth-inning grand slam -- Miami's first since Michael Broad accomplished the feat against Florida State on April 22, 2012 -- cleared the Blue Monster in left field and broke the game open late. The Hurricanes entered the eighth leading just 3-1, but struck for six runs off the Blue Devils bullpen in an offensive outburst.
Suarez surrendered just one run over his seven-inning, 100-pitch outing, scattering five singles while striking out three. The performance continued an impressive stretch. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since March 30, and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in eight of his 13 starts this spring.
"Mixing pitches," said Suarez when asked of his key to success on Saturday. "They're very aggressive -- they were jumping on my fastball a lot early, so I worked on throwing my changeup, slider and curveball later in the game."
Swart, who entered the contest with a miniscule 0.90 ERA, kept Miami off the board until the fifth, but was eventually tagged for a season-high three runs in the defeat. The Duke lefty struck out six batters but walked four, and took his first loss of the season facing an opportunistic Miami offense.
Miami registered four runs off reliever Nick Hendrix and another two off righthander Sam Ohanian, maintaining its hold on first place in the conference standings with four ACC games remaining. Carey's grand slam punctuated an impressive all-around performance for a surging Hurricanes ballclub.
After recording just two hits in the game's first four innings, Miami finally broke through in the fifth, scraping together a run on an RBI groundout from Jacob Heyward.
Brandon Lopez opened the inning with a single to shallow center, and a walk from Swart after a lengthy battle with Johnny Ruiz put two Hurricanes runners on base. A sacrifice bunt effort from senior Brad Fieger proved key, as Swart's throw to third was not in time to catch Lopez, giving the Canes bases loaded with no outs.
Swart did well to limit the damage, however, allowing just a single run on a hard-hit grounder from Heyward before inducing a double play to end the inning. The RBI was the career-first for Heyward, who made his third consecutive start in the outfield.
"Swart was mixing his pitches well, and he was working in and out," said Carey. "He was throwing his changeup well against his righties, and I give him a lot of credit for the work he put in today."
Duke would respond, tagging Suarez for its first run of the afternoon on an RBI single from Kenny Koplove. But the lefthander stranded runners on the corners to keep the score knotted at 1-1.
Miami connected for two singles off Swart in the seventh, putting runners on the corners and chasing the lefthander after 6.1 effective innings. Ruiz lined the first pitch he saw from Swart into center, and a slapped single from Fieger on the 99th pitch of the afternoon from Swart sent Ruiz to third base.
The hit prompted a call to the bullpen, and Heyward's second RBI of the day, which came on a fielder's choice to second base off Blue Devils righthander Andrew Istler, saw Miami regain a 2-1 advantage.
A wild pitch from Istler and an error on the ensuing throw to second from catcher Mike Rosenfeld advanced Heyward to third base. Carey capitalized on the Blue Devils' miscue, cracking an RBI single to plate Heyward for a 3-1 lead.After a bases-loaded walk to Heyward and an RBI double from Lopez made it 5-1 in the eighth, Carey cranked a hanging slider from Ohanian into the Tobacco Road restaurant in left field for his first career grand slam.
"I was looking for something up to hit, because I knew they would come slider there," said Carey. "He left it up, and I got a hold of it."
Thomas Woodrey and AJ Salcines combined to finish off the final two innings, extending Miami's program-long streak to 11 consecutive ACC road wins.
"Carey came through with a big hit, and at this point in the season, every win is a big win," said Morris.