The Miami Hurricanes found their bats this weekend against Georgia Tech – excellent timing in more than just aluminum meeting ball.
UM won its first series since the opening weekend in its first Atlantic Coast Conference three-game set of 2017, rebounding from dismal early-season hitting and run production to defeat the No. 23 Yellow Jackets 17-7 Sunday at Mark Light Field.
Miami (6-9, 2-1 ACC) had a season-high 15 hits, including a career-first grand slam from Michael Burns, who had two hits and a career-high 7 RBI for the day. The Canes hit .339 with 37 hits for the weekend after entering Friday with a .172 team batting average and 38 hits in their previous eight games. The home runs by Burns and Edgar Michelangeli accounted for six runs.
UM also won Friday, but lost 7-5 late Saturday night in an 11-inning game. Georgia Tech (10-4, 1-2) pounded out four home runs Sunday.
“It was huge to be able to get that confidence going,’’ UM coach Jim Morris said. “...I don’t know if we’re going to score 17 runs that often, to be honest with you, but I feel much, much better about our lineup and batting order and guys feeling more comfortable playing some positions. Our team is coming together.”
Burns said he’ll “never forget’’ his grand slam, which came in the seventh inning. “It was a good feeling running around the bases and coming to the plate and all my teammates were there,’’ he said. “That’s a pretty cool thing.’’
Michael Mediavilla (1-3) earned his first victory of the season with a career-high 11 strikeouts in six innings. He allowed four earned runs on nine hits and didn’t walk anyone. Coming out of the bullpen were Keven Pimentel and Ryan Guerra.
“Mediavilla pitched an outstanding game,’’ Morris said, noting that Georgia Tech came into the weekend batting .339. “These guys are big, strong guys that can hit. Getting him a W, his first, was huge...because he was our No. 1 pitcher last year and he has been struggling.”
Mediavilla acknowledged that his team’s sudden offensive prowess “makes a lot of difference’’ to a pitcher because it gives you more room to make some mistakes and keep adding to [your lead] and make adjustments.”
The Yellow Jackets (10-4, 1-2) used 10 pitchers, the most ever to throw against a UM team, and only two fewer than the NCAA record of 12. Starter Jake Lee (0-1) went 2 1/3 innings for the loss.
Down 1-0 after Mediavilla allowed a home run to leadoff hitter Wade Bailey, the Canes came roaring back with three in their half of the inning. They went on to score one in the second, three in the third, two in the fifth and four apiece in the seventh and eighth.
James Davison had three hits and scored five runs for UM, with Johnny Ruiz adding three hits, four runs and 2 RBI.
“Clearly we were hitting under .200 before this weekend,’’ Davison said. “But I knew from the work we put in every week that the hits were going to come, as long as we stayed playing as a team.”