In the bottom of the first inning Zack Collins stepped up to the plate at Mark Light Stadium. It had been a rough start to the season for the Junior Preseason All-American, who had been walked 11 times out of the season’s 22 at-bats.
This time; however, the bull was let loose.
BOMBA! Zack Collins cranks his first home run of the season on a solo shot to left, and #Canes take a 1-0 lead B-1; Ruiz up to bat #BeatFGCU— Hurricanes Baseball (@CanesBaseball) March 2, 2016
"Just trying to hit the ball hard," Collins said postgame. "The wind was blowing a little out today so I got lucky. I wouldn't say they are pitching around me. I'd just say they are pitching carefully."
Later on in the game Collin’s continued his dominance with another home run, and by the game’s conclusion he had 3 RBI’s.
"They weren’t careful enough," Head coach Jim Morris said chuckling during his postgame press conference. "I put Johnny (Ruiz) behind him, he’s been our hottest hitter up to this point, so I flipped him behind him trying to protect him."
Infielder Johnny Ruiz came into the game with a team high .478 batting average, and didn't let up at home. Ruiz picked up one hit during his three at bats, but did his job of protecting Zack Collins. Collins was only part of the effort; however, with nearly every unit contributing to Miami’s 6-2 victory.
"The game starts with pitching," Coach Morris said regarding Miami's pitching performance. "And Jesse pitched very well. It was his best outing as a 'Cane."
On the mound, Sophomore Jesse Lepore had a solid game, pitching nearly 6 innings with only 2 earned runs.
Despite the nice effort, Florida Gulf Coast did hit well early on. After a couple of runs, the Eagles held a 1 run lead into the fifth inning. After Lepore's start, Miami's bullpen took it from there. The 'Canes didn't allow a single run for the last six innings while there relievers were in the game. The combination of Frankie Bartow, Cooper Hammond, and Bryan Garcia got the job done for Miami, chipping in during the game's final three innings to not allow a single hit.
Stellar play from the bullpen has become a trend for Miami, and has resulted in closer Bryan Garcia being tied for third place in the nation in saves. Garcia hasn't allowed a single hit this season, and has been the ace that Miami's bullpen needs to close games.
For the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, Garret Anderson struggled from the beginning. In three innings, Anderson allowed four hits and a Zack Collins home run. After a short stint Anderson was immediately yanked from the ball game, and three relievers filled in. All of them struggled; however, and in the bottom of the eighth inning Edgar Michelangeli sealed the game with an RBI double to left.
Coming off of a poor outing in the series finale against Florida, the Hurricanes batted to the tune of ten hits, 4 of which came in the first three innings. The Hurricanes finished the game with 6 runs, and Miami's bats helped the 'Canes pull out a 6-2 victory.
Next up for the Hurricanes is a weekend series versus Manhattan. The Jaspers come into the series with a record of 1-2, and are coming off of a 7-12 loss against Virginia tech. Although the Jaspers are in a lower level conference, the 'Canes should not take them lightly considering their batters have brought home 22 runs in just three games. On the mound for the 'Canes will be Senior Thomas Woodrey, and first pitch is set for 7 o'clock.