Before the first pitch was thrown on Friday night at Mark Light Field, the Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles were deadlocked. Since 1971, the two teams have both won 128 games against each other.
Leading his team to an 11-0 victory, Miami starter Karson Ligon ignored the competitive nature of the series and left little hope for the FSU batting order.
“Just starting off with a fastball and locating that well,” Ligon said of his performance. “That allowed me to get into good rhythm pretty quickly and keep my pitch count down to allow me to go further into the game.”
Coming into the rivalry matchup, No. 23 Miami was looking to get started early after it was swept on the road at Wake Forest last weekend. The Hurricanes did just that, scoring leadoff hitter CJ Kayfus in the first inning via a sacrifice fly from third baseman Yohandy Morales. Then, in the third, Miami plated another run thanks to a single by outfielder Zach Levenson.
“We hadn’t really been swinging the bat really well,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “So, it was nice to see, knowing our offense was better than what they had shown, it was nice to see them do the job that they did today.”
Florida State starter and Jacksonville native Jackson Baumeister kept his team in the game early on. His defense, however, would start to falter behind him.
After allowing a couple of runners to reach base, Baumeister struck out Kayfus to get a big second out. Then, sophomore Edgardo Villegas lifted a ball toward left fielder Jaime Ferrer. Camping underneath the baseball, Ferrer couldn’t make the catch as the ball dropped out of his web, allowing two runs to come across.
“That sucks for them. That’s great for us that that happened,” Ligon said. “We took advantage and continued on in the later innings and we shut them out.”
Leading 5-0 after four innings, the Hurricanes only mounted the pressure when catcher Carlos Perez hit his seventh home run of the season. Driving in shortstop Dominic Pitelli and Nevada transfer Dario Gomez, Perez’s three–run shot gave Miami a commanding 8-0 lead.
Florida State pulled Bauemeister after four innings. The 6-foot-4 right hander allowed five runs, two earned runs and five strikeouts as he walked a pair of Hurricanes. After Bauemeister, the Seminoles used left-hander Brennen Oxford, junior Brandon Walker and Georgia native Brett Barfield to get their way through the game.
For Miami, Ligon finished his day after he threw a full eight innings. The Florida native gave up no runs, three hits and walked three batters as he struck out six hitters in 95 pitches.
“We’re pleased with the performance. Eight innings is a bonus, if guys can give us six, eight in this day and age you don’t see that a lot,” DiMare said. “Just an excellent job.”
Up big, Miami padded its lead in the sixth by using a Gomez single that turned into three bases after Ferrer mishandled the ball again in left field, allowing freshman Blake Cyr to score and Levenson to come across. The only other run for the Hurricanes would come from a solo home run off the bat of substitute right fielder Ian Farrow.
Securing an 11-0 victory, the Hurricanes only reliefer pitcher in 6-foot-5 freshman Sebastian Perez closed the books in the ninth, getting the final three outs in 13 pitches.
“Very, very pleased with the first game and like I told the players, it’s over, enjoy it for a short period of time, and then get out here ready to win the series tomorrow,” DiMare said.
Ligon (3-1) earned the win while Bauemeister was tagged with the loss (1-2).
With an 11-0 victory in Game 1, Miami looks ahead to the second game of the series on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Mark Light Field.