Coral Gables-- Things didn't go quite as planned for Buck Farmer in his final regular season start Thursday in Coral Gables. The Rockdale graduate and senior at Georgia Tech allowed seven runs (five earned) in six innings pitched and was the losing pitcher in an 8-3 defeat at Miami in the opener of the final regular season series.
Tech (33-23, 15-15 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost 11-7 Friday, then salvaged the three-game series with a 10-1 victory Saturday and will be the No. 7 seed when the ACC Tournament begins this week.
Farmer had been 2-0 with a 1.28 ERA in two career starts and had never lost in three career appearances against the Hurricanes, but Thursday was a different story.
As he did in his previous start against North Carolina, Farmer struggled in the early innings and put Tech in an immediate hole.
Miami had three consecutive batters reach base in the first, and David Thompson's RBI double and a sacrifice fly from Brad Fieger quickly made it 2-0.
The hosts greeted Farmer with a pair of first-pitch singles in the third, then after a sacrifice, Fieger ripped a two-line double for a 4-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Tech's offense, one of the finest in the ACC, couldn't figure out Eric Whaley. Scheduled starter Andrew Suarez was scratched, leading the way to Whaley's third start of the season and first since March 19. The right-hander tossed five shutout innings -- his longest outing of the season -- and allowed only two hits in picking up the win.
"My arm felt really good," Whaley told hurricanesports.com. "That was probably the best my arm has felt in a while."
Tech seemed to be pleased watching Whaley depart. Facing left-hander Thomas Woodrey, the Yellow Jackets broke up the shutout with a run in the sixth on a Zane Evans single, and got to within 7-3 in the seventh on a two-run home run by Mott Hyde.
Farmer came into the night as the NCAA's active leader in wins with 32 and strikeouts, and though he didn't add to the victory total, his six strikeouts Thursday gave him 369 in his four-year career.
The Conyers native looked good in the fourth and fifth innings, striking out three and allowing just a single that was later erased on a caught stealing. But Miami added to its lead in the sixth, picking up a pair of unearned runs on run-scoring singles by Garrett Kennedy and Dale Carey.
Farmer, who was named one of 22 semifinalists for the National Pitcher of the Year Award, was 8-4 with a 2.80 ERA (30 earned runs in 96 innings pitched) and 104 strikeouts in 14 regular season starts. The 6-4, 223-pounder is expected to start Tech's ACC Tournament opener.