University of Miami

Miami loses to Dartmouth in baseball for worst start in Jim Morris era

Jim Morris voices frustration after Hurricanes baseball starts season 3-5

Coach Jim Morris says his Hurricanes must "step it up" offensively to overcome a severe hitting drought.
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Coach Jim Morris says his Hurricanes must "step it up" offensively to overcome a severe hitting drought.

Getting swept in Gainesville last weekend by second-ranked Florida is one thing.

Losing at home to an Ivy League team that finished 18-25 last season is another.

The hitting-challenged University of Miami lost 1-0 to Dartmouth on Friday in a two-hitter at Mark Light Field for a 3-5 record and its worst start in the Jim Morris era.

The last time UM started as poorly as it has this season was in 1987, when the Canes were 2-7 after nine games.

Coach Jim Morris’ first season at UM was in 1994.

“Offensively, I don’t know if there’s any word other than embarrassing, jeez, the way we swung the bat,’’ said Morris, whose Hurricanes are hitting .168 as a team. “We were totally dominated. I’m very frustrated. We’ve got to be a lot better offensively as a team.

“We’re striking out too many times, we’re not putting the ball in play, we’re not putting any pressure on the defense, we’re not getting deep in the count and we’re behind all the time.’’

It took exactly two pitches – the first two pitches of the game, actually – to give the Ivy Leaguers a 1-0 lead.

With the wind blowing ferociously, Big Green freshman Trevor Johnson led off with a double to left field on the first pitch by UM ace Jesse Lepore.

Jesse Lepore is 1-2 this season despite an impressive 0.96 ERA after losing to Dartmouth 1-0.

Then, Matt Feinstein doubled to right field to score Johnson on a ball that UM right fielder Nico Baldor misplayed because of the wind.

“We should have caught it in the outfield,’’ Morris said. “You gotta go out prepared with the wind. The wind was blowing in [batting practice]. That ball has got to be caught.’’

Right-handed Dartmouth starter Beau Sulser (2-0) dominated the Canes, striking out 10 Hurricanes and allowing the two hits and a walk in seven innings.

Lepore (1-2, 0.96 ERA) has now lost his past two games by a score of 1-0. He lasted a career-high eight innings Friday and allowed only one run on four hits and three walks. He struck out six.

“Jesse pitched outstanding,’’ Morris said.

Said Lepore: “Just trying to pound the strike zone and let my stuff kind of speak for itself. I wouldn’t say [it was] disheartening at all. It’s frustrating but we’re just taking this as an opportunity to get better as a team. ...Regardless of whatever has happened, I have the utmost confidence in our hitters. I know what they can do.’’

UM, which had 12 batters strike out and four baserunners, had its chances – barely.

In the bottom of the second, Hurricanes designated hitter Johnny Ruiz led off with a ground-rule double after the ball got lodged between the Bacardi and UHealth Sports Medicine banners just below the scoreboard. But two strikeouts and a fielder’s choice stranded Ruiz on third.

In the fourth, UM’s Carl Chester led off with a single, but was picked off to end any threat.

In the sixth, Joe Gomez reached on an error but was doubled off first when Randy Batista popped out to the catcher.

The Hurricanes continue the series at 7 p.m. Saturday. They will be without their freshman catcher, Michael Amditis, who severely injured his lower left leg on Wednesday at FAU. Amditis was carted off the field in the fourth inning after injuring himself while running out a single.

Morris said that senior outfielder Barry Buchowski quit the team on Friday to devote more time to his studies.

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