Just a week after delivering a crushing 21-1 blow to Florida International University last Wednesday, the No. 20 Hurricanes (17-8) got the opportunity to take another stab at their cross-town rivals, this time at Mark Light Field.
After a slow start to the game, the Hurricanes’ offense showed its prowess with three runs in the fourth inning and and a four-run seventh inning, resulting in a 8-3 win Wednesday night.
“Great job by our pitching staff,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “You don’t do that very often where you kind of put a whole bunch of guys together, but it ended up working out and why it ended up working out is because everyone threw well.”
With regular mid-week starter Jake Garland unavailable for the game, DiMare gave the start to freshman Andrew Walters, who pitched two innings without giving up a run. Freshman Alex McFarlane came in for two innings after Walters and gave up two earned runs on two hits, but struck out four batters. Sophomore Jake Smith pitched two innings as well and gave up two hits, but no runs. Alex Munroe, Nicholas Regalado and Spencer Bodanza each pitched an inning to close out the game.
“The only hiccup we had really was McFarlane fell behind 2-0 and I assume threw one there kind of right down the middle,” DiMare said. “But we pitched really well, all the pitchers.”
The Panthers crossed home plate first, scoring two runs in the top of the fourth inning on a two-run home run hit by Luis Chavez off McFarlane. But the Hurricanes rallied back immediately.
Jordan Lala scored the first run on a balk, Adrian Del Castillo hit a RBI to score Anthony Vilar and Christian Del Castillo hit a sac-fly to put three runs on the board.
In the bottom of the fifth, starting catcher, freshman Carlos Perez, hit an RBI double down the left field line to score Gabe Rivera. Neither team scored until the bottom of the seventh inning, when freshman shortstop Dominic Pitelli hit his first career home run to give Miami a 5-2 lead.
“It definitely means a lot to have my first home run as a Hurricane, but I was just trying to put the ball in play,” Pitelli said. “I had okay first few at-bats, a double play and then a groundout. I just had to put something in play hard and then it ended up carrying and leaving the fence.”
After a run scored on a wild pitch, freshman third baseman Yohandy Morales hit his seventh home run of the season, a team-high. The two-run homer, which Morales told hitting coach Norberto Lopez he was going to hit, put the Canes up 8-2.
“Before going up to hit, I told Lopes that he was going to throw me a changeup and I was going to hit a home run,” Morales said. “So, when I went to hit, I got the changeup and I hit the home run.”
FIU’s Dante Girardi managed to sneak a run in in the top of the eight on a solo home run hit off freshman relief pitcher Nicholas Regalado, but reliever Spencer Bodanza came in for the top of the ninth inning and shut the Panthers down to closer out the win.
This was the Hurricanes sixth straight win. The team will travel to Pittsburgh, Penn. this weekend for a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Panthers.