Story courtesy UM
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – No. 14 Miami finished off its fifth sweep of the season Sunday at Charles L. Cost Field, besting host Pittsburgh 9-3 in its final road game of the regular season.
The win widened the Hurricanes' lead to 4.5 games in the ACC's Coastal Division, with only a three-game series against Georgia Tech remaining on Miami's conference schedule.
For the third straight game this weekend, the visitors jumped out to an early lead. The Hurricanes (34-13, 19-8 ACC) scored five runs over the game's first four innings, helping overcome a difficult start from righthander Enrique Sosa.
Sophomore Zack Collins recorded his first multi-home run game of the season in the win, crushing a solo home run in the and a two run shot in a four-RBI performance.
A two-out rally in the first spotted Sosa a 2-0 lead before the junior took the hill for the first time.
After Panthers starter Marc Berube (1-7) quickly retired leadoff hitter Ricky Eusebio and redshirt sophomore Christopher Barr, junior George Iskenderian cranked a full count fastball over the wall in left to put Miami ahead 1-0.
The home run, Iskenderian's third of the season, was a towering shot that cleared the scoreboard in left.
Senior Garrett Kennedy followed with a single to center, and would score from first on a double from junior David Thompson that made its way past leftfielder Jacob Wright and rolled to the wall in left.
Eusebio connected on an RBI single in the second that scored junior Brandon Lopez, who doubled to open the inning. Eusebio was one of four Hurricanes to finish with multiple hits.
A week after delivering a brilliant start against Florida State, Sosa struggled with command in his 4.1 innings. He allowed a single run in the third and two more in the fifth before being relieved by lefthander Danny Garcia.
Sosa allowed just two hits, but surrendered four walks and threw 77 pitches before departing.
Miami plated two more runs in the fourth inning, chasing Berube and forcing an early call to the Panthers bullpen.
Collins connected on a monstrous solo blast that hit off the garage in rightfield, marking his second straight game with a homer.
After Lopez walked, Barr connected on an RBI triple to right-center to bump the lead to 5-1. Iskenderian walked to put runners on the corners before Berube was pulled, but reliever Josh Mitchell struck out Kennedy to avoid further damage.
The Panthers (16-29, 6-18 ACC) got two runs back in the fifth on an RBI double from Charles Leblanc off Sosa, who lasted just one more batter before being removed.
Garcia (6-1) tossed 1.2 innings of relief, and nearly immediately made a play to help save a run. On a wild pitch during a Boo Vazquez at bat, Leblanc raced home to try and cut further into Miami's lead.
Garcia beat Leblanc to the plate, however, and tagged him after fielding Kennedy's throw while falling down to prevent any damage.
Collins, who also connected on an RBI groundout in the seventh, crushed a two-run home run to dead center off reliever Isaac Matstson in the ninth. The home run was the third in less than 24 hours for Collins, who has nine home runs and 36 RBI on the year.
Garcia, sophomore Cooper Hammond, freshman Michael Mediavilla and sophomore Bryan Garcia combined to allow just four hits with five strikeouts in relief of Sosa.
Miami returns to Mark Light Field for eight straight home games to close out the regular season. The homestand begins Wednesday, May 6 against Bethune-Cookman in a game slated for live coverage on Canes All-Access and WVUM 90.5 FM beginning at 6 PM.