Story Courtesy UM
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – A seven-run sixth inning helped No. 12 Miami win its seventh consecutive game, winning this weekend’s series against NYIT with a 13-1 victory on Saturday.
The Hurricanes (37-13) got off to a slow start, scoring just two runs over the first five innings after scoring 26 in Friday’s win over the Bears.
“Every time you have a game like last night, it seems like you have trouble scoring runs the next day,” head coach Jim Morris said. “We made some mistakes on the bases early. We weren’t concentrating and forcing some things. We took ourselves out of innings running the bases.”
Fortunately for Miami, senior Andrew Suarez had some of his best stuff on the mound. The gifted lefty held NYIT to one run over six innings while striking out six. Suarez
“Me and 3 were talking last night and he said the game was going to be 1-0 early, so I made sure to be on my ‘A’ game,” Suarez said.
The Hurricanes scored a run in the first, but failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities to have a big inning early on. Despite the lack of run support, Suarez continued to mow down NYIT inning after inning. The lefty was perfect through 10 batters until Josh Canabal was the first Bear to reach base, singling to center with one out in the fourth.
NYIT would tie the game at one when third baseman Louis Mele’s bloop to right dropped just inside the foul line for an RBI double. The run snapped a 26-inning scoreless streak by the UM staff — sixth longest streak in team history.
“Suarez pitched outstanding,” Morris said. “He kept us in the game even though we weren’t scoring runs for him until the sixth, when we got the seven spot.”
But the stalemate would not last long as Brandon Lopez ripped an RBI double to left in the bottom of the fourth that drove home Willie Abreu and put the Canes back on top, 2-1.
“We came out facing kind of a different pitcher than we’ve seen the whole year tonight,” Miami catcher Zack Collins said of NYIT starter David Plotkin. “He was more of a spotting guy, threw real slow so we had trouble staying back. We had a lot of opportunities where we had to hit the ball in the middle of the field and we didn’t.”
NYIT could only hold back the Hurricanes for so long as Miami sent 12 to the plate and had seven come around to score. The Canes had three consecutive bases loaded walks to score their first three runs in the inning before Zack Collins smacked a two-run double to right and Garrett Kennedy singled home Collins and George Iskenderian to round out the big inning.
“Lately I’ve been seeing the ball pretty well. I just saw it and hit it,” Collins said. “That’s my approach.”
An inning later, pinch hitter Jacob Heyward led off the seventh with a towering homer that landed on the Cobb Stadium track beyond the left field fence. Heyward’s blast was his second in two days, showing signs of increased confidence that have caught Morris’ attention.
“I’m sure the coaches on the other team are wondering ‘who is that guy and why isn’t he playing every day’ and that’s the way you get in the lineup,” Morris said. “It makes me think of ways to figure out how to get him in the lineup when he is swinging the bat like that.”
The Canes would score three more in the seventh as Edgar Michelangeli smacked an RBI doubled and Collins added a two-run blast to center, his second in as many days, to cap the four-run inning.
“I don’t think it went at far as mine, but it was a bomb,” Collins said of Heyward’s homer. “He told me in the locker room that he was going for his second tonight and he did it. He’s got his confidence and that’s a good thing.”
Danny Garcia, Daniel Briggi and Andy Honiotes came out of the bullpen to throw three shutout innings and close out the victory for the Canes in a game that Morris felt could have gone the other way early on.
“It was a crazy game,” Morris said. “We’ve got to come out tomorrow and understand that we’ve got to play every inning because in the first six innings tonight we could have lost easily.”
Miami returns to Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field Sunday for the series finale against visiting NYIT. First pitch for the contest, slated for broadcast on Canes All-Access and WVUM 90.5 FM, is set for 1 p.m.