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Miami Baseball Cruises Past FAU 14-6

Richard Lewis/Miami Athletics

George Iskenderian went 5 for 5 with 3 runs and 2 RBIs, and Zack Collins added 3 RBIs of his own as UM pounded out 18 hits in a commanding win from Coral Gables.

Full story Courtesy UM

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – No. 8 Miami used a five-run, two-out rally in the sixth inning to take control of its matchup with No. 20 FAU, earning a 14-6 victory in the season series rubber match at Mark Light Field.

The win extended Miami’s winning streak to nine and secured a critical series victory over the Owls, who entered the game ranked in the top 25 of every major national poll.

Tonight was a big win for us,” head coach Jim Morris said. “We’ve been scoring a lot of runs lately...FAU is a good club, and they’re ranked.”

With the game tied up 6-6, sophomore Jacob Heyward drew a walk from Owls lefthander Devon Carr (0-3) that prompted FAU’s third pitching change in less than six innings.

David McKay entered in relief and allowed a single to junior Ricky Eusebio and the second triple of the night from Christopher Barr to make it 8-6 in favor of the Hurricanes.

Junior George Iskenderian padded Miami’s lead to three runs with an RBI single through the left side, and red-hot Zack Collins capped the rally with a two-run home run to right to make it 11-6.

“Two-out hits definitely put a team down, and most likely allow the team who got them to win the game,” Collins said.

The home run was the eighth in the past nine game for the sophomore slugger, who was named ACC Player of the Week for the second straight week on Monday.

“We’re definitely hitting the ball really hard. It’s absurd the way we’re swinging the bat right now,” Collins said.

The top six hitters in Miami’s order combined for 15 hits, including multi-hit performances from five hitters: Eusebio (2-for-5), Barr (2-for-5), Iskenderian (5-for-5), Collins (2-for-5) and Garrett Kennedy (3-for-4).

“It’s good to see a lot of guys swing the bat, not just one guy,” Morris said. “To get the power production, the home runs – it’s great to see it back in the college game.”

The sixth inning represented just half of Miami’s 10 two-out RBI on the night.

“Every guy who is hitting at the plate trusts the guy behind us,” said Iskenderian, who registered his first career five-hit night as a Hurricane. “We’re not trying to do too much. It’s fun when there’s nine guys in the lineup who can get a job done, so all you have to do is pass the baton.”

The offensive explosion marked the ninth straight game where Miami scored at least nine runs, and fifth straight with double digits. The impressive performance continued a streak for Miami that included a sweep of NYIT with a combined scoring margin of 58-2.

“I heard a lot of comments like, ‘Why did Miami play NYIT? It was a boring weekend,’” Collins said. “But NYIT could have easily beat us. Any team can beat anybody. It’s baseball.

“We definitely showed tonight that it wasn’t NYIT, that we’re hitting the ball hard and that we’re scoring runs.”

Sophomore Derik Beauprez, freshman Michael Mediavilla and sophomore Bryan Garcia combined to pitch the final four scoreless innings. They allowed three combined hits with four combined strikeouts.

The offensive fireworks helped overcome a disappointing start from lefthander Danny Garcia, who was tagged for four runs in just 4.1 innings.

Miami (39-13) jumped out to leads of 2-0 and 4-2 before falling behind 6-4 on an Owls grand slam by Ricky Santiagio in the top half of the fifth. But junior David Thompson tied the game on a two-run blast in the ensuing half-inning, and Miami regained a lead it would not relinquish one inning later with its clutch two-out rally.

Miami hit .588 (10-for-17) with two outs and .467 (7-for-15) with runners in scoring position.

The home run was the team-leading 15th for Thompson, who moved into a nationwide tie for first place with 68 RBI on the year.

Sophomore Willie Abreu connected on a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to put Miami up 4-2 in the fourth inning, while Miami totaled seven extra-base hits.

“We’re scoring a lot of runs, and we’re swinging the bat much better,” Morris said. “It’s a different club. Our offense is much better than it was last year, and there are a lot of guys contributing and doing different things.”

Miami wraps up its regular season with an ACC series against visiting Gerorgia Tech beginning Thursday, May 14 at Mark Light Field. First pitch for the series opener, slated for broadcast on ESPN3 and 560 WQAM, is set for 7 p.m.