Hurricanes Clinch the Series with a Dramatic 3-2 Victory over UMBC

Clutch hitting and a masterful pitching performance by Chris McMahon helped the Hurricanes (8-2) overcome sloppy defense for a 3-2 victory on Saturday night. Miami would put their first run on the board in the bottom of the first inning. With runners on first and third and two-outs, Freddy Zamora took off to steal second base. When UMBC catcher Colin Casey threw down to second, Jordan Lala (who was on third) took off for home. Zamora’s speed got him to second in more than enough time while Lala was able to complete the double steal and put Miami up 1-0.

In the bottom of the first, sloppy defense by the Hurricanes would strike again. UMBC second baseman AJ Wright hit a single up the middle which would have moved Ethan Wentzlaff to third but the ball rolled under centerfielder Tony Jenkins’ glove allowing UMBC to tie the game. Defense has been a major issue for this Hurricanes team so far as they have now committed 14 errors in only 10 games.

Chris McMahon, like McKendry on Friday, did a fantastic job of overcoming the defensive mistakes. After the unearned run in the top of the second, McMahon would settle in. He finished with 10 strikeouts and only allowed three hits through six innings of work.

“His slider had really good depth to it,” DiMare said. “Our expectations of Chris are so high and I’m sure his are, too. I’ll take six innings and two walks and 10 strikeouts every time.”

The Retrievers would put on an impressive pitching performance of their own. Both right handers for UMBC pitched well. Starter Aaron Husson settled in after allowing that run in the bottom of the first and finished only allowing three hits. Reiever Stephen Shoch would enter the game and looked impressive in the sixth. His funky delivery seemed to have the Miami hitters off balance but they figured hm out in the seventh.

“Their guys pitched,” DiMare said. “They had two guys with funky deliveries, back-to-back righties that just had awkward deliveries and it’s hard to prepare for those guys.”

Freshman Adrian Del Castillo was able to break the deadlock in the bottom of the seventh. With Zamora on base, Del Castillo ripped a one-out double to left field to put the Canes back in front. Del Castillo has now hit successfully in every game so far this season (10 games). This run seemed like it may clinch the game with how strongly the Hurricanes pitchers have been but in the words of our friend Lee Corso, “not so fast, my friend.”

UMBC freshman Blaze O’Saben hit a solo shot in the top of the eighth to tie the game yet again. The UMBC crowd had been energized the entire night. This helped UMBC maintain a high energy and a belief. With the game tied at two the teams headed to the bottom of the eighth. Enter, Anthony Vilar.


With two-outs and Jordan Lala on second, Vilar hit a shot between the shortstop and second base bag. Lala was looking to score from contact. UMBC shortstop Andres Machado made a fantastic diving attempt and almost caught the ball to end the inning. However, the ball popped out. Despite not catching it clean, the great play did keep the ball on the infield to allow him to throw home. The throw sailed a little bit high and Lala was able to slide in to home just in time to beat the tag. After a lengthy review, the call stood. Canes 3, Retrievers 2.

Miami would continue to threaten as they were able to load the bases, but UMBC reliever Andy Rzylowicz would get a huge strikeout to end the inning. The Retrievers would not go quietly though. Hurricanes reliever Daniel Federman issued a four pitch walk to start the inning. The next batter, Christian Torress singled to put runners on the corners with no outs. However, AJ Wright would get caught wandering to far from third on a strikeout and would run himself into an out. The Hurricanes went from dealing with runners on the corners and no outs to a runner on first with two outs. Thank you UMBC. Federman would finish off the game and secure the one run victory.

“It was a great team effort,” DiMare said. “We did so many little things that made a difference and in these one-run games every little thing is so important. It was a great baseball game and I am happy we came out on top.”

The Hurricanes will return to action Sunday at 1pm at Mark Light Field. Redshirt Junior Brian Van Belle (1-1, 1.50 ERA) will take the hill for the Canes. While Sophomore righty Nick Trabacchi (1-0, 0.00 ERA) with take it for UMBC.

Go Canes!