Hurricanes score big in seventh, bounce back at FIU

Sophomore infielder Yohandy Morales hits a ground ball to the shortstop, who threw to second for the third out in the bottom of the third inning of Miami’s game versus Florida at Mark Light Field on March 6, 2022.

After consecutive losses to rival Florida over the weekend, the Miami Hurricanes bounced back on Tuesday night, riding a nine-run seventh inning to a 12-5 victory at FIU Baseball Stadium.

Tuesday was the first road game of the season for Miami, making the 11-mile journey to Florida International University to take on the Panthers. UM won its fifth straight against its crosstown rival, each under fourth-year head coach Gino DiMare.

Miami (9-3) got down early. Sophomore starting pitcher Alex McFarlane gave up two first-inning runs before settling down and retiring 10 of the final 13 batters faced. The bullpen held strong, going the final five innings with Alejandro Torres recording the win in his return to FIU since transferring to Miami.

FIU starter Carlos Lequerica was dominant in his four innings of work, allowing just three Hurricanes to reach base while recording a season-high six strikeouts.

However, once the Panthers went to the bullpen, everything began to unravel for FIU (7-7), with their six relievers allowing 12 earned runs in five innings.

Miami came back to tie the game in the top of the fifth, before giving the lead back to FIU in the bottom half of the inning. Again, the Hurricanes tied the game in the sixth but gave the lead back to FIU again in the bottom of the sixth.

“We got a lot of things we have to do better,” DiMare said. “We have to throw more strikes, walking too many guys, made a few errors. We’re not receiving and catching the way I want us to. We should always be happy with a win, but we have to learn from this and get a lot better.”

The seventh inning was the turning point in the contest, with Miami exploding for nine runs after 12 hitters came to the plate. The Hurricanes claimed the lead on a three-run home run by catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. and never looked back.

“I was trying to see a fastball, make contact and get that run in from third,” Romero Jr. said.

The Hurricanes picked up six runs in the inning before the Panthers were even able to get an out, ending the seventh with nine-runs led by the Romero homer and three RBIs on two different hits by outfielder Jacob Burke. Miami also had RBI hits from Dorian Gonzales Jr., Mike Rosario and Yohandy Morales.

“That inning really won the game,” DiMare said.

Out of the bullpen, the Hurricanes went to Jordan Dubberly, Alejandro Torres, Gage Ziehl and Rafe Schlesinger, before handing the ball to Andrew Walters in a non-save situation. Walters shut the door for the Hurricanes, retiring all three batters he faced including one by strikeout.

Miami will look to start a new winning streak this Friday as it welcomes the Boston College Eagles to Mark Light Field for its series opener in Atlantic Coast Conference competition.