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.
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.