Miami Baseball improved to 25-9 on the season, and remains well out in front of the ACC Coastal Race.
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. – No. 11 Miami received another strong outing from lefthander Thomas Woodrey and cruised to an 11-1 win over Virginia Tech in its ACC series opener at Mark Light Field.
Woodrey (4-1) tossed 6.0 innings, scattering four hits and allowing just one earned run. He struck out a career-high seven batters and pitched through the sixth inning for the eighth straight start.
The Lighthouse Point, Fla., native needed just 85 pitches to get through the outing, which helped improve Miami's home record to 19-2 this season.
"Woodrey did a great job staying ahead of hitters all night," head coach Jim Morris said. "He could have pitched longer than he did, but we got up big and got him out of there."
Not to be outdone, Miami's offense cranked out 16 hits and tacked onto an early lead in the middle innings to seal its sixth straight victory.
10 Hurricanes recorded at least one hit, with five players recording multi-hit games.
Senior Garrett Kennedy connected on his fourth home run of the season and finished the night with a career high-tying three hits (3-for-5) and four runs scored.
"Just confidence," Kennedy said when asked about the key to his .390 batting average. "I've been getting some good pitches to hit, and not missing them - that's the biggest thing right now. Go up there with confidence and put good swings on balls."
The Hurricanes (25-9, 12-4 ACC) tagged Hokies lefthander Sean Keselica (4-2) for four runs on three hits in the first inning, and chased him after just two frames.
Junior Ricky Eusebio led off the action with a single chopped over the head of third baseman Erik Payne and Kennedy was hit by a pitch to set up a scoring chance for junior George Iskenderian.
The hot-swinging infielder came through, knocking a single up the middle to plate the opening run and give Miami a 1-0 lead.
After a groundout from David Thompson scored another run, a two-out RBI single from Brandon Lopez prolonged the inning and a hard-hit ball from first baseman Christopher Barr resulted in an error that scored the final run of the inning.
"I think we're always trying to go out there and score runs," Kennedy said. "Everybody is swinging the bat well right now. That's a plus."
Miami tacked on two runs in the fourth on Kennedy's blast to rightfield off Hokies reliever Packy Naughton. The home run was Miami's 27th of the season.
"He left a fastball pretty much middle over the plate, and I was able to sneak it out of here," Kennedy said of his home run swing.
Virginia Tech (17-18, 7-9 ACC) struck for a run in the sixth on an RBI triple from Alex Perez that cut Miami's lead to 6-1. Woodrey did well to limit the damage, however, getting a strikeout and a groundout to strand the runner at third.
"Our hitters set the tone early in the game," Woodrey (4-1) said. “We put up four in the first and from there, my goal was just to throw strikes and let the defense work.”
The Hurricanes blew it open with four runs in the sixth on RBI singles from Zack Collins, Lopez and Barr.
Lopez finished the night 2-for-3 with three RBI and reached base four times.
Senior Sam Abrams was dominant in relief upon entering in the seventh. He struck out a career-high five batters, while senior Ryan Otero shut the door with a scoreless ninth.
“It was a complete game for us. We played good defense, we pitched well, we hit well, and that [usually] means you’re going to win,” Morris said.
Miami continues its series with Virginia Tech Saturday at Mark Light Field. First pitch for game two, slated for broadcast on WVUM 90.5 FM, is set for 7 p.m.