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Sixth-Ranked Canes Cap Homestand With 4-2 Win

Richard Lewis/UM Athletics

Courtesy UM

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Redshirt freshman Keven Pimentel delivered an impressive performance in his first collegiate start to lead No. 6 Miami to a 4-2 victory over visiting Stetson Wednesday.

Pimentel, who had made two relief appearances prior to his outing against the Hatters, allowed just four singles in 5.2 shutout innings. He struck out two batters, did not issue a walk, and earned the first win of his career in front of 2,393 at Mark Light Field.

The Hurricanes finished their season-opening 13-game homestand with an impressive 11-2 record.

"The gameplan was to keep the ball down and throw strikes," Pimentel said. "I had good run on my fastball today, which allowed me to get a lot of groundballs. My changeup was working well, and I threw a couple good sliders, but honestly I was keeping the ball low and trusting our infielders."

Miami, which extended its winning streak to six straight games, got all of its offense from junior Willie Abreu, who drove in all four of the team’s runs.

Abreu’s RBI single in the second inning scored senior Brandon Lopez to put Miami ahead 1-0, while a three-run home run in the fourth signaled the end of Stetson lefthander Erik Wiebke’s night.

With two runners in scoring position after a single from junior Johnny Ruiz and a double from Lopez, Abreu cracked a 2-2 pitch from Wiebke over the fence in left-center for his second home run of the year.

The pitch was the last for Wiebke (2-2), who went 3.1 innings and surrendered six hits and four earned runs over 66 pitches.

Abreu (2-for-3), Ruiz (2-for-4), Lopez (2-for-4) and leadoff hitter Carl Chester (2-for-3) each recorded multi-hit games.

That was more than enough for Pimentel, who cruised through the early innings.  He retired seven in a row from the second through the fourth before allowing a single to John Fussell, who was eventually erased on a double play.

Freshman righthander Andrew Cabezas entered in the sixth when Pimentel allowed two singles, and promptly retired the dangerous Will Mackenzie on a groundout to second to end any Stetson threat.

Pimentel, who also impressed in an exhibition start against the Miami Marlins, missed his entire freshman season in 2015 while recovering from arm surgery. Wednesday’scareer-long outing of 5.2 innings and 81 pitches marked another step forward for the Huntington Station, N.Y., native.

"It felt great, going out there and competing and letting everything go," Pimentel said. "Everything felt good – it was a long time coming. It was great to see myself back and be where I want to be."

Cabezas, who set a career high with three strikeouts, tossed a scoreless seventh inning, but ran into trouble in the eighth when the Hatters loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and a walk.

Junior All-America closer Bryan Garcia entered in relief of Cabezas for a rare six-out save. Despite allowing an RBI groundout and a bases-loaded walk to shave Miami’s lead to 4-2, Garcia moved into a tie for fourth place at Miami in all-time saves with the 29th of his career.

He struck out the side in the ninth, and tied a career high with four total strikeouts.

The Hurricanes open their ACC schedule on the road this weekend with a trip to Blacksburg, Va., and a series against host Virginia Tech. First pitch for Friday’s opener from English Field, scheduled for broadcast on WVUM 90.5 FM, is set for 5:30 p.m.

"We’re excited to represent the ACC, go out there and compete," Pimentel said. "This is what we play for – to hopefully bring another ACC Coastal Division title here. We have to start on the right note."