‘Canes baseball erases four-run deficit for 10-7 series-clinching win over No. 21 Louisville

Sophomore infielder Dorian Gonzalez Jr. reacts to a homerun by junior CJ Kayfus in Miami's 10-5 win over Florida Atlatnic University on Wednesday, March 22 at Mark Light Field. Photo credit: Alexandra Carnochan

In the rubber match of a top-20 showdown on Saturday afternoon, it did not look good for the Miami Hurricanes baseball team. Down four runs after just the second inning, missing one of their starters and coming off a demoralizing 11-run defeat one day prior, the ‘Canes still found a way.

Determined not to leave Jim Patterson Stadium with a loss, No. 16 Miami rallied for a series-clinching 10-7 victory over the No. 21 Louisville Cardinals. Powered by the bats of CJ Kayfus, freshman Blake Cyr and Yohandy Morales, the Hurricanes won their fourth top-25 series of the season.

“I think it’s our biggest win of the year,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “We don’t have a third starter right now, so we had to match guys up. We were down four runs and they might’ve had the best pitcher in the conference on the mound today. Our offense did a great job to keep battling, get him out of there, score runs in bunches and put pressure on them.”

Miami (28-16, 14-10 ACC) trailed Louisville (28-15, 9-12) by four runs but was able to tie the game by the fourth and take the lead for good in the sixth.

The ‘Canes could not have done it without the arm of Carlos Lequerica (4-0). The fifth-year senior pitched 3.1 scoreless innings to pick up the victory, the most he’s pitched all year. He relieved Ben Chestnutt, who came in for starter Alejandro Torres. Chestnutt and Torres only lasted 3.2 innings combined.

Only a single Louisville player reached base against Lequerica.

“I threw with confidence and conviction. I pounded the zone and trusted my defense,” Lequerica said. “This is a win that shows our grit. It’s a part of our DNA and culture. We always fight until the end.”

The offense started to roll at the top of the third, and a homer from catcher Carlos Perez opened the floodgates. Cyr then blasted a two-run double to bring the ‘Canes within one run.

An inning later, first baseman Kayfus laced a single up the middle that brought two more ‘Canes home and gave Miami the lead.

“The game is never over,” Kayfus said. “There’s no time limit in baseball and anything can happen, especially with the guys that we have. That moment was a huge momentum changer for the team.”

A couple more runs in the eighth by Dorian Gonzalez Jr. and Dominic Pitelli, along with Miami closer Andrew Walters stepping on the mound, all but put the game away for the Hurricanes.

Morales reached a huge milestone as he recorded his 200th collegiate hit.

“It’s uncharted territory. There aren’t a lot of guys who have that many hits. That right there tells you all you need to know about how good he is,” DiMare said. “It’s just a testament to who he is.”

The Miami Hurricanes return home for a three-game series against Presbyterian starting next Friday. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.