UM 4, Boston College 3

Reliever Bryan Garcia helps UM baseball team finish sweep of Boston College

 

sdegnan@MiamiHerald.com

The Hurricanes’ magic that began with a perfect game Tuesday at Alex Rodriguez Park, continued Sunday with a 4-3 victory and series sweep over Boston College — Miami’s first Atlantic Coast Conference baseball sweep since April 2012 against North Carolina.

The No. 16 Canes (10-5, 3-0 ACC) have won five consecutive games since getting pounded by Florida State on March 1 and 2.

UM never trailed Sunday, though the Eagles (6-9, 0-3) chipped away at the Canes’ 4-0 lead with a run in the seventh and two in the eighth.

The Canes scored four runs in the sixth — only two earned — on singles by Dale Carey, Brad Fieger and David Thompson, with Thompson and Alex Hernandez recording RBI.

Two runs came off an error of Hernandez’s chopper that went past the second baseman. Another came off a passed ball.

“I started off real slow this year, but made some adjustments in the cage. … I’m starting to get a lot more comfortable at the plate,” said Thompson, who entered the weekend hitting .243 and raised his average to .304 with five hits in nine at-bats.

Sunday, however, was mostly about pitching.

Left-handed starter Andy Suarez (2-1, 4.12) earned the victory, allowing only one unearned run on four hits in seven innings. He had a perfect game through four innings, which he acknowledged crossed his mind.

“I was hoping,” Suarez said, “but the umpire squeezed me a little bit, and once the walk happened, I just let it go and continued pitching.”

Then, following two middle relievers, the newfound gem of the bullpen saved the Canes again.

Right-handed freshman closer Bryan Garcia, a Miami Columbus High alum, entered with bases loaded and one out in the eighth. The stocky 6-1, 195-pounder got the first batter out on a sacrifice fly to right field, putting the Eagles one run away from a tie.

The next batter, Nick Colucci, struck out swinging.

Garcia (1.50 ERA) retired the side in order in the ninth, earning his fifth save, second best in the ACC. Four of five Garcia’s saves have gone more than one inning.

UM coach Jim Morris said Garcia approached him about wanting to be the closer this season. Last year’s closer, Eric Nedeljkovic, led the ACC with 13 saves.

“This is a role that he wants, that he did in high school,” Morris said. “He let me know he knew that role was open, and he’d like a shot. Normally I don’t do a back-to-back day [with] fastball guys. We needed to bring him in early, and he’s done it every time in big games.”

The Canes play host to Bethune-Cookman at 6 p.m. Tuesday before leaving for a four-game trip that begins Wednesday against Stetson and ends with a three-game weekend series at Georgia Tech.

Morris said left-handed freshman Danny Garcia (0-0, 2.57) will start for UM on Tuesday.

Javi Salas (1-1, 1.59), who pitched the perfect game against Villanova, will start Wednesday.

“To be able to sweep and get off to a fast start is really big,” Morris said of the weekend. “It’s good to see a lot of guys contribute.”

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