Hurricanes’ magical run in ACC baseball tournament ends with semifinal loss to Duke

The Miami Hurricanes ran out of frontline pitching.

They ran out of hitting.

Simply put: They ran out of magic.

Sixth-seeded Duke rallied from an early two-run deficit, scoring six runs in the eighth inning to beat Miami 8-2 on Saturday night in an ACC tournament semifinal in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Hurricanes, who needed four wins in a row this week to win the ACC tournament and qualify for an NCAA regional, head home to Miami.

Their season is over.

At 27-30, they finish with the program’s first losing record in 67 years.

Yet, if they played all season like they did this week, it’s safe to say Miami would be in a regional. The Hurricanes this week — seeded 11th out of 12 teams — upset Louisville and Clemson before heading into the bottom of the eighth inning tied with Duke 2-2.

“It was a tough season,” said J.D. Arteaga, who completed his first season as Miami’s head coach. “No one [on the outside] has any idea what we’ve been through this season.

“But I’m proud of our guys fighting to the last out.”

Freshman third baseman Daniel Cuvet gave Miami a 2-0 lead in the fourth with his 24th homer of the season, one short of the Hurricanes record held by Phil Lane.

Cuvet is tied for second on the Miami list along with Yonder Alonso and Alex Torral. He also hit more homers than any freshman in Miami history — one more than former first overall MLB draft pick Pat Burrell.

Unfortunately for Miami, the Hurricanes got just one other hit in the entire game — a harmless single by Jacoby Long.

Hurricanes starter Herick Hernandez was outstanding, holding Duke to just one run in five innings, earning mid-game praise from Blue Devils coach Chris Pollard.

“It’s not a surprise,” Pollard told ACC Network. “He pitched great against us earlier in the year. He’s got great stuff.

“He’s so much better than his [statistics]. The ability to land the big-shape breaking ball late in the count is the difference.”

Duke got to Hernandez with two outs in the fifth as he walked in a run. The next batter hit a pop fly near the net — right between catcher Carlos Perez and first baseman J.D. Urso. Both players gave chase, and Urso made the sliding catch while simultaneously taking an accidental hit from Perez.

It was a sensational play, but it served as Miami’s last hurrah of the season.

Duke tied the score in the seventh inning on Jimmy Evans’ sacrifice fly against Nick Robert, Miami’s first reliever in this game.

Robert got one out in the eighth before Arteaga called on Myles Caba, who must have been running on fumes.

Caba was brilliant in Miami’s first two games in Charlotte, getting 10 outs for a save on Tuesday and six outs for a save on Thursday.

On Saturday, however, he gave up a two-run homer to Alex Stone, which put Duke ahead 4-2.

Miami’s third reliever on the night, Brandon Olivera, failed to record an out and gave up the most massive homer of the tournament as Devin Obee rocked a 455-foot homer with 111-mph exit velocity to left to give Duke a 6-2 lead.

The game was virtually over at that point, although Duke added two more runs.

“We were in the game until the. eighth inning,” Arteaga said. “It got away from us there.”

As for going to Caba — with his heavy workload this week — Arteaga said it wasn’t a hard call.

“He’s been our best guy the last few weeks,” Arteaga said. “If we’re going to go down, we want to do it with our best guy. Nobody feels worse than he does.”

In the end, all the Hurricanes players, coaches and fans likely felt bad that the team came up two wins short of the NCAA postseason.