The Miami Hurricanes opened Jim Morris’ final season with a victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. The Hurricanes looked tremendous, and UF transfer Danny Reyes was a standout. Mark Light was packed with fans, and they enjoyed a dominant win.
In the top of the first inning the Hurricanes looked to settle in, especially considering that four of Miami’s infielders are freshmen. The Hurricanes did just that, with a quick 1-2-3 inning that saw a display of SS Freddy Zamora’s fielding prowess, including a sliding throw to end the top half of the first.
Unfortunately Miami couldn’t get anything going in the bottom of the first. Freshman Tony Jenkins was way out ahead of a breaking ball and grounded out harmlessly to pitcher John O’Reilly. After that fellow freshman Willy Escala struck out, and star Romy Gonzalez suffered the same fate.
The top of the second started with a harmless flyout to second baseman Willy Escala. Unfortunately for Miami Carmen Sclafani managed to get on base on a blooper that was just out of the reach of Miami right fielder Romy Gonzalez on the very next pitch. After Milo Freeman couldn’t get anything done at the plate, shortstop Kevin Welsh came to the plate and ripped a single to right field that pushed Sclafani to third. Unfortunately for Miami, Luke Bowerbank came to the plate and ripped an RBI single to give Rutgers the early 1-0 lead. Fortunately for UM Bargfeldt managed to get out of the inning with no more damage, and at the end of one and a half Rutgers led 1-0.
The bottom of the second started off with a bang, as UF transfer Danny Reyes ripped a double to deep right field to set up a huge scoring opportunity. After Reyes’ double Michael Burns had a great plate appearance, taking four straight pitches and earning a free pass to first, suddenly Miami was threatening, with men on first and second and no outs. Freshman Ray Gil then came to the plate, and took yet another walk from the struggling John O’Reilly. Then, highly touted recruit Alex Toral came to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs, O’Reilly appeared to have settled down and quickly put Toral behind the count with two strikes. Unfortunately for Rutgers John O’Reilly lost control again, and hit Toral with a pitch, tying the game at 1-1, and keeping the bases loaded. Michael Amditis then came to the plate, and worked himself to a full count, unfortunately all Amditis could do was ground into a fielder’s choice, but the play scored a run and gave Miami a 2-1 lead. Freshman Freddy Zamora then came to the plate, and after a wild pitch there were runners on second and third. The freshman then hit a sacrifice fly to gain his first career RBI, and Miami led 3-1 with a man on second and two outs. O’Reilly again struggled to control his pitches, as Tony Jenkins took yet another walk, giving Miami men on first and second with two outs. Unfortunately Willy Escala hit a grounder to the Rutgers’ shortstop that ended the inning with Miami holding a 3-1 lead.
In the top of the third Jeb Bargfeldt looked to come out and keep Miami’s lead safe. However, the inning didn’t start the way Bargfeldt wanted it to, and Rutgers’ LF Mike Nyisztor knocked a grounder between first and second to get on first with no outs. Rutgers’ star Jawuan Harris then came to the plate to try to respond to the Hurricanes, but instead Harris hit a grounder straight back to Bargfeldt. Bargfeldt mishandled the ball, but fortunately freshman Willy Escala made a great play to get the double play. Bargfeldt still couldn’t get himself out of the inning however, as he gave up a single to Nick Matera. Bargfeldt appeared frustrated to start the next at bat, and found himself in a 3-0 hole, and even though he managed to make the count 3-2, he walked the batter, and Rutgers was threatening with two men on and two outs. Fortunately Bargfeldt settled down and struckout Carmen Sclafani to end the top of the third with Miami still leading 3-1.
The bottom of the third started well for Miami, as star Romy Gonzalez hit an infield single to give Miami a runner on first with no outs. Danny Reyes then came to the plate, the transfer from UF worked the count a little bit and looked for his pitch, and when he got it he RIPPED it to left-center field, giving Miami their first homerun on the season and pushing the lead to 5-1 Miami. The good times then continued to roll for Miami, as Michael Burns came to the plate and ripped a single right back up the middle to give Miami a runner on first with no outs. The struggling O’Reilly recovered by striking out Ray Gil. Michael Burns attempted to steal second on the last pitch of the at-bat, but a batter interference call on the retired Gil led to Burns being out even though he appeared safe. After that Alex Toral came to the plate and hit a liner to center field to end the third inning with Miami holding a 5-1 lead.
The top of the fourth started quietly, as Jeb Bargfeldt forced Milo Freeman to flyout to third base. After that Willy Escala made another fantastic play as Rutgers shortstop Kevin Welsh grounded one to second, Escala fielded it and made an accurate throw despite his foot slipping. Luke Bowerbank couldn’t get anything going for the Scarlet Knights either, as he grounded to Alex Toral at first base to end the half-inning with Miami still holding the 5-1 lead.
The bottom of the fourth started well for Miami as Michael Amditis ripped a single to get on first base and become Miami’s third consecutive leadoff batter to reach base. After that an error in the middle infield allowed Amditis to reach second and Freddy Zamora to reach first with no outs. The threat forced Rutgers to make a pitching change as O’Reilly continued to struggle, and the new pitcher was Eric Reardon. Freshman Tony Jenkins struck out to give Reardon his first out of the night. In the next at-bat Willie Escala hit a beautiful bunt down the third-base line to load the bases for star Romy Gonzalez. Gonzalez worked a beautiful at-bat and took a walk to push the lead to 6-1 and keep the bases loaded. A deep fly-ball by Danny Reyes allowed Freddy Zamora to score from third, and the lead grew to 7-1 for the home team. Unfortunately Michael Burns couldn’t get anything in his next at-bat, and the inning ended at 7-1 Miami.
The top of the fifth started very well for Miami, as two consecutive strikeouts by Jeb Bargfeldt made a rally for Rutgers difficult. Jawuan Harris would come to the plate to try and disprove that though, as he quickly grounded one right back up the middle for a two-out single. Bargfeldt recovered nicely however, as he forced Nick Matera into a high infield fly-ball that ended the half-inning.
In the bottom of the fifth the Hurricanes tried to start a rally, but a few standout defensive plays by Luke Bowerbank and Eric Reardon ensured the ‘Canes wouldn’t get any runs. After the quiet retirement of the Hurricanes, we headed to the top of the sixth with Miami still holding a 7-1 lead.
The top of the sixth saw the collegiate debut of Daniel Federman, and the freshman’s first collegiate inning couldn’t have gone any better. He tossed a 1-2-3 inning and looked dominant as he made his debut.
In the bottom of the sixth the Hurricanes tried to get a rally going. Freshman Tony Jenkins reached on a walk, and fellow freshman Willy Escala came to the plate looking to drive in Jenkins. Unfortunately Escala struck out in his at-bat, and during the at-bat Jenkins was caught trying to steal second. After that Romy Gonzalez came to the plate trying to salvage something from the inning, but instead struck out, and the sixth inning ended with Miami still holding their 7-1 lead.
In the top of the seventh Federman struggled, as he allowed Rutgers to get the bases loaded. However, he stayed calm, and when he needed to make pitches he made them. Eventually striking out the last batter to keep the game at 7-1. Federman really showed maturity beyond his years in this inning, and despite letting the bases get loaded, he kept his calm and delivered.
In the bottom of the seventh the Hurricanes couldn’t get anything going against Tommy Genuario, who was making his collegiate debut. Danny Reyes, Michael Burns, and Ray Gil went down 1-2-3, on two fly-balls and a strikeout, and the game headed to the top of the eighth with Miami still leading 7-1.
The top and bottom of the eighth went quietly. As both sides worked through the opposing batters with ease. The Hurricanes headed to the top of the ninth leading 7-1 and looking to finish off a win in Jim Morris’ first game in his final season.
The top of the ninth was relatively routine for Miami, as Daniel Epstein came in to finish the job. Epstein worked through the ninth allowing only one hit, and Miami won the game 7-1!
This game was very encouraging, the middle infielders were great for Miami tonight, especially defensively, and Danny Reyes was fantastic at the plate. In addition, the Hurricanes showed a lot of patience at the plate, drawing a lot of walks that allowed them to score more effectively. Jeb Bargfeldt had a solid, if unspectacular, debut, and the rest of the pitching staff was fantastic in relief. One of the most promising signs was Michael Mediavilla’s appearance in relief, where he looked comfortable and, despite it being a short appearance, much more effective than last year.
On a nice note of sportsmanship, Rutgers presented Jim Morris with a plaque commemorating his time at Miami:
The Hurricanes will look to continue their winning ways tomorrow, as they face Rutgers for game two of the series, first pitch is at 7:00 PM.
Winning Pitcher: Jeb Bargfeldt (1-0)
Losing Pitcher: John O’Reilly (0-1)
Rutgers vs Miami; Game 2
Date & Time: Saturday, February 17, 7:00 PM
Miami Starter: Greg Veliz (6-4, 3.38 ERA)
TV: ACC Network Extra
Radio: WVUM 90.5