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Miami Opens ACC Tournament With 8-5 Win Over Louisville

Daniel Cuvet hit two home runs and drove in six RBIs as 11th seeded Miami defeated 7th seeded Louisville 8-5 in Tuesday's ACC Tournament opener.


The freshman wasted no time getting the fireworks started for the 'Canes in Charlotte as he hit a 367 foot home run over the fence in right field to make it 3-0 in the Top of the 1st following lead off singles from Jacoby Long and Edgardo Villegas. It was his 22nd of the year, putting him one shy of the legendary Pat Burrell for the school's freshman record.


"We did a great job setting the tone in the top of the first inning putting up a three spot," Miami Head Coach JD Arteaga said in the post game after." All three of those first inning hits to lead off the game were with 2 strikes.


"I was seeing the ball really well at the plate," Cuvet said about his first at bat. "He gave me a good pitch to hit with a 1-2 count where he gave me a slider that was middle low and I just stayed through it well."


Rafe Schlesinger, pitching on just three days rest following his last start against Pittsburgh last Friday, was excellent in 5.2 innings of work. He gave up 3 earned runs while striking out 5 and walking zero. Myles Caba came on in relief and dazzled for the remaining 3.1 innings, striking out five before allowing a solo shot to Luke Napleton and an RBI double to Zion Rose in the 9th inning.


"Rafe did a good job of a bend but don't break [approach]," Arteaga said. "Got himself in some jams but made pitches when he needed it... and Caba did a good job coming in and closing the door there at the end."


The game was still in reach for Louisville following solo home runs from JT Benson and Zion Rose in the 5th and 6th innings, but the Cardinal threat didn't last after Long and Villegas were once again able to get on base to lead off the Top of the 7th against Louisville's bullpen ace Tucker Biven. After striking out on heaters in his two plate appearances since the first inning home run, Cuvet was ready for the fastball from Biven.


"I was late on my two strikeouts on fastballs so I knew they were going to keep attacking me with that," Cuvet explained. "And then they kept giving it to me and I didn't miss the second one."


The powerful freshman crushed the pitch 413 feet towards the top of the digital scoreboard in left center and 109 MPH. It was his 23rd home run of the year which ties him with former Major League star Pat Burrell for the Miami Hurrican freshman record.


"It's an honor to tie a guy like that," Cuvet said of Miami legend Pat Burrell. "Everyone knows how legendary he was so it's an honor."


JT Benson went 3-3 with a double and a home run for Louisville and reached base in all five of his plate appearances. Freshman DH Zion Rose also went 3-5 with a double, home run, and two RBIs. Louisville cannot advance in the ACC Tournament but they still have plenty to pay for after the loss cost them 4 spots in RPI. They'll face Clemson on Friday with a chance to improve their resume one last time before Selection Monday.


Coach Arteaga confirmed that Hurricane ace Gage Ziehl will start for Miami on Thursday when they face Clemson for the de facto Pool B championship game. Miami must win the ACC Tournament to advance to the NCAAs.


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