CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Sixth-ranked Miami extended its winning streak to five consecutive games Tuesday with a 6-2 victory over Maine at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
With Miami leading just 2-1 in the middle innings, a four-run seventh - which included an RBI single from junior Jacob Heyward and a two-RBI single from junior Willie Abreu - ballooned the hosts’ lead to a more comfortable 6-1.
Heyward, one of three Hurricanes to deliver a multi-hit performance, tied a career high with three hits (3-for-3) in front of 2,411. He reached base in all four plate appearances.
"I felt good today. I had to make a few adjustments last week with our hitting coaches Gino [DiMare] and [Norberto] Lopez," Heyward said. "I felt comfortable and stayed confident."
Junior Randy Batista, making only his fourth start of the season for Miami, drove in the game-tying and game-winning runs as the team’s nine-hole hitter. His bunt single in the second tied the game 1-1, while his sixth-inning single put the Hurricanes ahead for good.
Miami received six innings from sophomore Jesse Lepore, who earned a win for the second straight outing. Lepore, who picked up the first win of his career in his last start vs. FGCU, struck out six and walked just one.
Black Bears shortstop Jeremy Pena gave the visitors a 1-0 lead in the game’s first inning when he sent a Lepore offering over the fence in left for a leadoff solo home run.
The Hurricanes (10-2) responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the second off talented Maine righthander Justin Courtney to tie the game 1-1.
A leadoff double by Heyward was nearly squandered when Courtney (1-1) retired the next two Miami batters, but after senior Brandon Lopez was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners, Batista laid down a perfect bunt to plate Heyward from third.
Lepore pitched his way out of a jam in the fourth to maintain the deadlock.
After allowing the first two runners of the inning to reach on a double by Tyler Schwanz and a fielder’s choice, a one-out infield single that caromed off Lepore’s glove loaded the bases for Maine (3-8).
The righthander buckled down to strike out Alex Cabrera and retire Shane Bussey on a fielder's choice to keep the game tied 1-1.
He punctuated his outing with back-to-back strikeouts of Kevin Stypulkowski and Colin Ridley to end the sixth inning.
After Batista put the Canes ahead in the sixth with an RBI single, Heyward helped put the game away in the seventh. His RBI single towards third base scored Zack Collins (walk) from second, and a two-RBI single from junior Willie Abreu moved Miami's lead to 5-1.
Lopez put the finishing touches on the offensive outburst with an RBI double down the left field line to plate Abreu.
Heyward, who entered the game hitting .171, raised his average over 60 points (.237) with his 3-for-3 night at the plate.
"I've been struggling for a little bit. Each day I try to go out there and do the best I can for my team," Heyward said. "Today, it just happened. Our coaches told me to stay positive and keep doing the best I can, and things will pan out."
Redshirt junior Christopher Barr also tied a career high with three hits.
Freshman Isaiah Musa pitched the final 1.2 innings after junior Cooper Hammond left in the eighth with an injury. Freshman Frankie Bartow pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
The Hurricanes return to Mark Light Field Wednesday for a matchup with Stetson. First pitch for the contest, slated for broadcast on ESPN3 and WatchESPN, is set for 6 p.m.