The Miami Hurricanes began the 2014 season with a 6-3 win over the visiting Maine Black Bears on Friday night in Coral Gables.
Senior left fielder Tyler Palmer was Miami's offensive star going 3-for-4 including a homerun, 2-RBI's and two runs scored. The Canes started the scoring early, plating four runs in the opening frame on four bases loaded walks by Maine starting pitcher Tommy Lawrence. The Black Bears cut the lead to 4-1 in the top of the 2nd, but in the bottom half Tyler Palmer blasted a solo homer over the left field fence to push the lead to 5-1 and Miami never looked back.
The Hurricanes started junior LHP Chris Diaz who scattered six hits over five innings to earn the win. Diaz, the ace of a staff which is considered to be one of the best in the country, looked sharp in his first outing of the season, striking out seven and allowing only one earned run. A.J. Salcines came in with two outs in the ninth and struck out the only batter he faced to record the save. Another bright spot out of the Canes bullpen was sophomore LHP Thomas Woodrey, who threw two scoreless innings of relief, while striking out four.
Hopes are high in Coral Gables this season. Miami enters the year ranked #16 by Baseball America and #17 by USA Today. Last year the Hurricanes were 37-25 with their season ending in the Louisville Regional. While pitching is expected to carry Miami, the offense will need to improve from last year if the Canes are to get back to Omaha.
Miami continues it's three game series with the Black Bears on Saturday night at 7pm at Mark Light Field. The Hurricanes will send junior LHP Bryan Radziewski to the hill against Maine's Scott Heath.