Cuvet’s three-run homer propels Miami to a series-tying win against No. 4 Florida

Junior outfielder Edgardo Villegas gestures to the crowd after his home run in Miami's 10-6 win against Florida at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field on Saturday, Mar. 2, 2024. Photo credit: Jason Hill

With runners on first and second and two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Miami Hurricanes desperately needed to strengthen their lead and put the game to bed against their in-state rival, the No. 4 Florida Gators.

UM freshman sensation Daniel Cuvet did just that, smashing his sixth home run of the season directly into the batter’s eye in center field, sending the crowd at Mark Light Field into a frenzy. Cuvet’s home run was enough for the Hurricanes to tie the series against the Gators, winning 10-6.

Jason Torres wasted no time getting the scoring started for the Hurricanes. In the first inning, following a walk and single, Torres took UF pitcher Liam Peterson’s fastball 415 feet, crushing it over the fence in left-center field. The sophomore’s second home run in many games got UM to an early 3-0 lead.

Torres has had a fantastic start to his 2024 campaign. The first baseman is among the Hurricane team leaders in hits and RBIs, with 22 and 19, respectively, and is one of the ACC leaders in home runs, with seven.

In the second frame, outfielder Edgardo Villegas extended the lead to five for the ‘Canes, smashing his first home run of the season over the center field wall.

Following a slow start to the season, Villegas has found his stride in his last few games. Since the series’ final game against LIU, the lefty has been batting .500, tallying nine hits and five RBIs.

Peterson struggled to keep the ball in the park against the UM offense. Despite allowing three hits and striking out seven, the freshman gave up two long balls to Torres and Villegas, costing his team five runs in just two innings.

Junior pitcher Rafe Schlesinger gave UM another quality outing, this time against Jac Caglinone and the explosive Florida offense. The lefty struck out nine batters through 6 ⅔ innings of work and surrendered three runs on seven hits. The Long Island native was dominant through four, allowing one hit and striking out five. It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Gators started fighting back.

In the fifth inning, Schlesinger was in a bit of trouble, with runners on first and second with two outs. Due up was UF’s Dale Thomas, who powered the junior’s fastball over the center field wall, allowing the Gators to get right back into the game at 5-3.

After Cuvet’s home run extended the Miami lead to six, the Gators kept fighting. In the eighth inning, UF’s Tyler Shelnut laced a double down the left-field wall, bringing in two runners and forcing UM to make some pitching changes.

Head coach J.D. Arteaga gave the ball to freshman reliever Nick Robert in the eighth to work around the threat from the Florida offense. After allowing a sacrifice fly, Robert worked out the jam and got the nod to finish the game.

Miami looks to win the series in the rubber match game tomorrow against the No. 4 ranked Florida Gators. UM will have Miami-Dade transfer Herrick Hernandez toeing the slab in Coral Gables, facing the 2024 Preseason Two-Way Player of the Year Jac Caglinone. First pitch will be at 1 p.m.