The Cardiac Canes did it again Saturday night. The University of Miami defeated visiting Wright State 4-3 on a walk-off single by Willie Abreu with the bases loaded and no one out in the ninth inning.
The Hurricanes entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 3-2. Ricky Eusebio led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch by closer Andrew Elliott. Zack Collins then walked to put runners at first and second. George Iskenderian squared to hit after showing a bunt and lined a single to left field that loaded the bases. After Elliott threw his second wild pitch of the inning, Eusebio scored to tie the game, setting up Abreu’s heroics.
“I took the bunt off because some of our guys do not bunt real well,” UM coach Jim Morris said with a smile. “It was his birthday, and I felt more comfortable with him swinging away than I did bunting, so I took it off. It worked.”
On the 10th pitch of his at-bat, Abreu lined a single to left field that scored Collins from third base with the game-winning run. It marked the second night in a row that the Canes won a game in their half of the ninth inning.
“I am ready to go home and relax and enjoy this one,” Morris said after the game. “I cannot say enough about what this team has done the last two nights. The way they fought back was remarkable.”
Abreu said the ability to deliver in clutch situations goes along with the mentality of being a Hurricane.
“That’s the definition of the ‘U’. We came to fight, and we fought for the whole game,” Abreu said. “We did what we had to do, and we would not be denied. That was our mind-set the entire game.”
Carl Chester had three hits for UM in the victory, which is a career high.
"I had a good night at the plate. I was just trying to get the bat on the ball," Chester said. "I knew that if I did that, my feet would do the rest of the work."
UM starting pitcher Enrique Sosa went six innings, scattering six hits and giving up two earned runs.
Morris said that his pitcher did well, but they could not give him any support.
"Sosa threw well tonight, real well," Morris said. "I thought he pitched a good game. We just left a lot of men on base for him and we have done that the whole season."
The Raiders did not wait long to get their offense started and put Miami back on its heels.
Sosa, who entered the game with a 1.54 ERA, was chased early for two runs in the top of the first inning as Andrew McCafferty singled and drove in leadoff batter Mark Fowler for the game's first run. Two batters later Sean Murphy singled to second and advanced on a throwing error by Hurricane second baseman Edgar Michelangeli, McCafferty scored on the play and gave the Raiders a quick 2-0 lead.
The Raiders tagged Sosa for another run in the fourth as designated hitter Brad Macciocchi hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield that scored Murphy from third base. Mitch Roman advanced to second on the play and Gabe Snyder was sitting at third base. Sosa got out of the inning only yielding the one run and Miami trailed 3-0.