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May 26, 2010
BY BILL HASS
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Miami coach Jim Morris felt good to be home and felt even better after the way his Hurricanes played Wednesday.
Miami knocked off Florida State 9-3 on the first day of the 2010 ACC Baseball Championship at NewBridge Bank Park. The Hurricanes are 1-0 in Division A play and will continue in the round robin format by meeting Boston College (0-1) Thursday at noon. Florida State (0-1) plays Virginia (1-0) Thursday at 4 p.m.
The Hurricanes (40-15) slugged three home runs and used a combination of four pitchers, including two freshmen, to subdue the Seminoles (39-17).
"It's a huge win for a lot of reasons," Morris said. "Of course it's Florida State, our biggest rival, so that makes it special. The first win in the tournament is great. I thought our guys played well."
Morris was enjoying a return to Greensboro, where he lived five years and graduated from Smith High School and then from nearby Elon. He said he used to sell soft drinks during the ACC basketball tournament in Greensboro, although he did more watching than selling.
In this game, he watched the Hurricanes gain an early lead that they never relinquished. Nathan Melendres got things going in the second inning with a two-run homer off Florida State starter Sean Gilmartin. Michael Broad followed with a solo homer to make it 3-0.
The Seminoles got two runs back in the third. A double by Tyler Holt and a throwing error by Miami right fielder Chris Pelaez scored one run and Sherman Johnson's sacrifice fly scored Holt.
Miami tacked on a pair of runs in the fourth to make it 5-2. Florida State appeared set to rally in the top of the fifth against Hurricane starter Eric Whaley, making just his second start of the season.
Devon Travis led off with a triple and Jayce Boyd walked. Holt hit a sharp one-hopper to Miami shortstop Stephen Perez, who went to his left for a backhand stop and started a double play. Travis scored, but the bases were clear and Whaley retired Johnson to end the inning.
"It was a real nice play Perez made on that ball," said Florida State coach Mike Martin, "because it was a one-hopper, kind of an in-between hop, to his backhand. (If) he doesn't come up with that, we're (runners on) first and third, one run in. It's a one-run ball game and we've got a chance to get the momentum going our way."
Morris said the double play was a big play to keep the lead at two runs. From there, Miami increased the lead when Harold Martinez belted his 18th homer, a three-run shot in the bottom of the fifth to make it 8-3.
Martinez said he hit a hanging curve but thought the ball would be caught.
"I knew the wind was blowing in and it would be tough to get out," he said. "When I saw it land it surprised me."
ACC Player of the Year Yasmani Grandal doubled in the last Hurricane run in the seventh inning.
Morris said Whaley, a freshman, probably could have gone another inning, but Morris wanted to get to his bullpen, which the Hurricanes have spent all season developing. Freshman E.J. Encinosa pitched two shutout innings and sophomore Sam Robinson added another before sophomore Daniel Miranda closed the game in the ninth.
"I was more excited than nervous, a big rivalry like this," said Whaley. "I've been thinking about it all week; ever since I found out I was starting I was ready to go."
Florida State dropped its fourth straight game, although Martin said he was proud of the fight the Seminoles showed.
"We're not playing any chopped liver," he said. "There are great clubs in this league and we just played one. You make a mistake, they make you pay for it. That's what happened today."
2010 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Championship
NewBridge Bank Park -- Greensboro, N.C.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Game 2: Florida State vs. Miami
Miami (40-15, 20-10 ACC) ... ...improves to 40-15 overall and 8-8 in the ACC Championship. ...improves to 2-1 against Florida State in the ACC Championship. ...freshman second baseman has scored a run in 18 of his last 19 games. ...sophomore third baseman Harold Martinez his 18th home run of the season in the fifth inning, doubling his long ball total from 2009. ...sophomore centerfielder Nathan Melendres was 2-for-3 at the plate and has safely in 13 of his last 14 games; put Miami ahead, 2-0, with a two-run home run in the second inning, his first home run since May 7. ...freshman righthander Eric Whaley made just his second career start and earned the win to improve to 5-1; Whaley worked a season-high 5.0 innings. ...hits three home runs, upping the Hurricanes total to 61 dingers in their last 32 games. Miami hit 24 home runs over its first 23 games. ...is 14-8 against lefthanded starters. ...has won 22 games this season by five runs or more. ...had not used its starting lineup since May 16. ...scored seven of its nine runs with two outs. ...6-7-8 hitters scored first five runs.
Florida State (39-17, 18-12 ACC)... ...falls to 39-17 overall and 58-30 in the ACC championship. ...has lost four consecutive games for the first time since the 2006 season. ...sophomore lefthander Sean Gilmartin started and suffered the loss to fall to 6-7 this season; retired the first 5 batters he faced. ...junior centerfielder Tyler Holt stole 20 consecutive bases without being caught stealing before being thrown out in the first inning; scored one run and is two runs away from moving into a tie for sixth place in school history for runs scored. ...had not used its starting lineup all season. ...has played for the conference championship three times in the state of North Carolina (1996, 98, 2009). ...junior outfielder/pitcher Mike McGee went 1-for-4 at the plate and leads all active Seminoles with a .372 career batting average against Miami. ...sophomore third baseman Sherman Johnson failed to get a hit, ending his team-best six-game active hitting streak.