Lefty hitters, at least on Friday night, can be highly effective against lefty pitchers.
Catcher Garrett Kennedy beat the lefty-vs.-lefty percentage play with a two-run, tie-breaking single in the seventh inning, helping the host Miami Hurricanes defeat the Duke Blue Devils 4-3 at Mark Light Field.
Three of Miami’s lefty hitters – Kennedy, Zack Collins and Willie Abreu – went 5 for 10 against lefty pitchers.
The 12th-ranked Canes (22-9, 9-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) need one more victory, Saturday night or Sunday, to claim their fourth straight ACC series win.
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Miami third baseman David Thompson extended his hit streak to 20 games with an eighth-inning single. He hit a 1-2 pitch after fouling off several pitches and is now tied for fourth for the longest hit streak in Canes history.
Duke (19-11, 4-9) has lost five games in a row.
The Blue Devils started a left-hander – and their first two relievers were also southpaws – as they tried to attack the lefty-heavy Miami lineup.
The plan kind of worked early, but mostly because Miami left nine runners on base in the first five innings – not counting two runners who were picked off in the fourth. Miami left the bases loaded in the second and third innings, and Collins was left hanging after a leadoff triple in the fifth.
With the score tied 2-2 in the seventh inning, Miami rallied against lefty reliever Mitch Stallings. George Iskenderian hit a one-out single, and lefty-hitting Abreu doubled off the glove of Duke right fielder Peter Zyla.
That set the stage for Kennedy, who hit a 1-2 pitch to right-center, putting Miami on top 4-2.
Starter Thomas Woodrey allowed two hits and two runs – one earned – but did not figure in the decision. He has pitched at least six innings in all seven of his starts this season.
Reliever Cooper Hammond created a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth. Miami closer Bryan Garcia’s wild pitch – the run was charged to Hammond – helped Duke close to 4-3 in the eighth.
But Garcia struck out the last two batters in the eighth, stranding the would-be tying run on third, and Garcia pitched a scoreless inning for his sixth save.
UTSA 5, FIU 3: JC Escarra had two hits, but the host Panthers (13-17, 5-5 Conference USA) fell to Texas-San Antonio (17-13, 6-4). Austin Rodriguez, Jack Schaaf and Julius Gaines each had an RBI for the Panthers.