UM baseball 11, Georgia Tech 7

UM baseball tops Georgia Tech, seek series sweep Saturday


Miami continued to pound out hits against Georgia Tech to back pitcher Chris Diaz.

The Hurricane runs flowed as readily early Friday night as the Mark Light milk shakes made famous at Alex Rodriguez Park.

And to starting pitcher Chris Diaz and his University of Miami teammates, they were just as sweet.

The Canes, who entered their final regular-season series against Georgia Tech with the second least hits and runs scored in the Atlantic Coast Conference, smacked nine hits for eight runs in the first two innings for an eventual 11-7 victory.

Not only did the Hurricanes (35-20, 14-15 ACC) guarantee themselves a rare ACC series victory, they put themselves in position for their first ACC sweep Saturday — with left-handed ace Bryan Radziewski (8-1, 1.26 ERA) set to pitch at 1 p.m.

The Canes are now 4-6 in series against ACC teams.

The Yellow Jackets, who rallied for four runs in the ninth, dropped to 32-23 and 14-15. Eric Nedeljkovic earned his ACC-leading 13th save by striking out the final two batters with runners on second and third.

Before Friday’s game, over Diaz’s last six starts dating to an April 5 outing against FSU, the sophomore left-hander had allowed only two earned runs over 44.1 innings for a 0.40 ERA — yet was 2-2 during that stretch.

On Friday, hitters finally came through in a big way for Diaz, as they did for Eric Whaley in Thursday’s opening-night win. Diaz allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk. But with sluggers such as freshman David Thompson delivering timely hits, Diaz didn’t have to sweat like usual.

Thompson’s career-high five RBI tied this season’s individual high by Brad Fieger. The 6-2, 207-pound third baseman, who also is a quarterback on the football team, blasted a three-run homer in the second inning for an 8-1 lead — after dinking an RBI-single to drive home Tyler Palmer for UM’s first run.

Thompson has reached base in 21 consecutive games.

All nine starting UM batters reached base, including second baseman Alex Hernandez (two hits and three runs scored), on an eight-game hitting streak, and catcher Garrett Kennedy (two hits and an RBI).

Designated hitter Roger Gonzalez, a freshman making his second career start, had one hit and two RBI.

If the Hurricanes complete the sweep Saturday, they would assure themselves of at least a seventh-place league standing going into the ACC tournament, which begins Wednesday in Durham, N.C. And should Virginia Tech couple that with a loss to Wake Forest, the Canes would jump to sixth place.

Freshman left-hander Jonathan King (5-4, 4.62) will start Saturday for the Yellow Jackets.

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