Miami falls to UNC; FIU loses

 

From Miami Herald Wire Services

No. 29 Miami dropped game two of its weekend set with No. 1 North Carolina on Saturday night, as the host Tar Heels evened the series at one game apiece with a 14-2 victory at Boshamer Stadium.

The Hurricanes offense struggled against UNC starter Benton Moss (5-0), who didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning. Freshman Ricky Eusebio ended Moss’ no-hit bid with his second career double roped to left field to lead off the frame.

After falling behind in Friday night’s series opener, the Tar Heels (17-1, 4-1 ACC) struck first with two runs in the second inning off Miami starter Javi Salas (2-2). After Brian Holberton led off the frame with a double, sophomore infielder Mike Zolk connected on a two-run home run over the right-field fence for the early lead.

UNC would tack on to its advantage with 11 runs in the bottom of the third, as the Tar Heels’ offense connected for seven hits in the inning. Having allowed eight hits and charged with five earned runs through 2 1/3 innings of work, Salas was pulled in favor of sophomore Alexander Fernandez.

The right-hander nearly got out of a tough jam on a bunt from Matt Roberts. But first baseman David Thompson’s throw home was not in time, as the Heels would go on to plate seven more runs to jump out to a commanding 13-0 lead. Senior reliever Vince Kossak induced the final two out of the inning.

Miami (15-5, 2-3 ACC) would strike for two late runs off reliever Reilly Hovis, loading the bases in the eighth on singles from Eusebio, and Tyler Palmer sandwiched around a fielding error that helped Christopher Barr reach base. A wild pitch from Hovis plated Eusebio from third, while a sacrifice fly from sophomore Esteban Tresgallo cut into the deficit.

The two teams will return to Boshamer Stadium for Sunday’s rubber match. First pitch for the contest, slated for broadcast on ESPN 3, is set for 1 p.m.

•  FAU 6, FIU 5: Florida Atlantic scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat FIU at the FAU Baseball Stadium in Boca Raton.

The Owls (13-7, 2-0 Sun Belt) trailed 5-3 entering the final frame but got a two-run single from Mark Nelson and the game-winning RBI single by Mike Spano to win the second game of a three-game series.

The Panthers (10-10, 0-2 SBC) snapped a 3-3 tie in the top of the eighth inning as Oscar Aguirre delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded to push FIU ahead 5-3.

FIU opened the scoring in Saturday’s game with a two-run home run from Nathan Burns in the top of the fourth. It was Burns’s third home run of the season.

The Panthers tacked on another run in the fifth when Julius Gaines, who singled and stole second base, scored on an error by Owls shortstop Mitch Morales.

FIU starter Ty Sullivan had his best outing of the season.

The junior left-hander went seven-plus innings and allowed just two earned runs. Sullivan lowered his ERA to 3.41.

Zach Sweety led the Panthers going 3 for 5. Burns was 2 for 4 with two RBI and Aguirre was 1 for 3 with two RBI.

FIU closes out the three-game set with FAU on Sunday afternoon in Boca Raton. Right-hander Mike Franco goes for the Panthers. Jeremy Strawn starts for the Owls. The first pitch is at 1 p.m.

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