CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Sophomore righthander Jesse Lepore delivered one of the best outings of his young career Tuesday night at Hammond Stadium, guiding second-ranked Miami past FGCU 4-0.
The win was Miami’s 19th in its last 21 games dating to March 2 – a stretch that began with a 6-2 win over the same Eagles team.
Less than a week after missing a scheduled start at FAU due to inclement weather, Lepore was dominant in a career-long outing. He struck out a career high-tying seven batters in seven innings, besting his previous career long of 6.0.
The Beverly Hills, Fla., native allowed just two hits and one walk, throwing 101 pitches before giving way to the Miami bullpen in the eighth.
After allowing a single and a walk in the first inning, Lepore would set down the next 10 batters before hitting Eagles’ designated hitter Jake Smith with a pitch to open the bottom of the fifth.
He ended his outing by retiring 19 of the final 21 batters he faced.
FGCU’s Mario Leon kept Miami at bay in the first, escaping any damage when the Hurricanes put runners on first and third on a hit-and-run executed by Zack Collins (walk) and Jacob Heyward (single). Leon induced a flyout from junior Johnny Ruiz to end the inning.
Miami (24-4) threatened once again in the fifth when Edgar Michelangeli cracked a one-out double to right-center and Randy Batista followed with a walk. But Leon came through, inducing an inning-ending double play to maintain the scoreless tie.
The visitors finally broke through in the sixth, when Leon (2-2) departed after allowing a single to Collins and hitting Heyward with a pitch. Ruiz immediately delivered on the opportunity, cracking an RBI single to right off Eagles reliever Sterling Koerner to give Miami a 1-0 advantage.
With runners on the corners, senior Brandon Lopez went the other way for an opposite-field RBI single to build Miami’s lead, and MIchelangeli followed with an RBI single up the middle to make it 3-0.
A successful squeeze play executed by Miami would add an insurance run in the eighth inning. With Heyward on third after a single, steal, and sacrifice bunt, Lopez dropped a perfect bunt up the first baseline to score UM’s final run.
After Lepore departed, FGCU (13-16) did not fare any better against relievers Frankie Bartow and Bryan Garcia. Pitching one inning each, the duo preserved Miami's shutout win and needed just 27 combined pitches to clinch the victory.
The Hurricanes travel next to South Bend, Ind., for a weekend series with host Notre Dame. First pitch for Friday’s opener, slated for broadcast on WVUM 90.5 FM, is set for6:05 p.m.