The Miami Hurricanes are 4-0 after a great mid-week win over the Florida Atlantic Owls. Miami will hope this win can set the tone for mid-week games all season, and that the Hurricanes evade the losses on Tuesdays and Wednesdays that have hampered them for the last two seasons.
Freshman Slade Cecconi made his first start in his career as a Miami Hurricane on the mound Wednesday. He pitched great, allowing just three runs, two of which were earned, over five innings, along with earning the win.
Miami got on the board in the bottom of the third with a four run rally. After Michael Admitis grounded out to start the inning Jordan Lala singled through the middle of the infield. Tony Jenkins followed with a single that gave Miami two men on with just one out. Anthony Vilar struck out, and Freddy Zamora hit a chopper that should have gotten FAU out of the inning but was mishandled by the third baseman. Lala scored from second on the play due to great baserunning. Adrian Del Castillo followed Zamora by roping a two-run double that made the game 3-0. Alex Toral followed with a single right up the middle that drove in Del Castillo and made the score 4-0.
The Owls responded in the top of the fourth. Anthony Vilar booted a simple ground ball that gave FAU a runner on first with no outs, and Andru Summerall ripped a single that gave the Owls two men on with no outs. Joe Montes followed with a ground rule double that scored FAU’s first run of the evening, and a groundout scored another run to make the game 4-2. Cecconi earned the second out of the inning with a clutch strikeout, and with two outs Montes tried to score on a wild pitch but was thrown out at the plate by a quick-reacting Michael Amditis.
Miami would tack on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Jordan Lala reached first with one out after being hit by a pitch, and advanced to third after a beautiful hit and run from Tony Jenkins, which gave Miami runners on the corners with one out. After an Anthony Vilar strikeout, Freddy Zamora knocked a ball right up the third baseline for a two-RBI double that made the score 6-2 Miami.
The Owls responded with yet another run of their own in the top of the fifth. The inning started with what should have been a single, but turned into a double after Luis Tuero misread a ball in right field. A bunt moved the FAU runner from second to third, and a sac-fly scored the runner from third to make the game 6-3.
The Hurricanes produced even more offense in the bottom of the fifth. Alex Toral walked to leadoff the inning, and Ray Gil was hit by a pitch to give Miami runners on first and second with no outs. Luis Tuero followed with another walk to load the bases with no outs. Vladimir Zavala, the FAU pitcher, continued to struggle, and walked Michael Amditis, and a run, home, in the next at-bat. The Owls brought in a new pitcher, Jon Jon Kostantis, but Miami would add on two more runs off two sac-flies that pushed the score to 9-3 Miami after five innings.
In the top of the sixth Greg Veliz entered the game for Miami. He worked a solid sixth and seventh for the ‘Canes. In the seventh he allowed a run after a single and an RBI double, but worked out of the inning with the help of Ray Gil. Gil had an absolutely amazing play where he caught a ball in foul territory while falling into the net beside the visitor’s dugout.
The rest of Miami’s offense on the night came off the bat of Alex Toral. The sophomore hit his third and fourth homeruns of the year in the sixth and eighth innings. If he continues to swing the bat as well as he is right now that would be a huge boost for the Hurricanes.
Tyler Keysor and Mark Mixon worked the eighth and ninth innings for Miami. Both pitched extremely well. Miami cruised through the last two innings to an 11-4 victory that sets up a huge weekend series against No.5 Florida.
The Gators have struggled during the week. Losing on the road to USF Tuesday night and to UNF at home on Wednesday. Florida’s pitching staff has played extremely well, but their bats have gone ice cold over the last week. Miami’s pitching staff will hope to be the third staff to shut down the UF bats this week over the weekend.
Winning Pitcher: Slade Cecconi (1-0, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)
Losing Pitcher: Hunter Cooley (0-1, 3.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)
Date & Time: Friday, February 22, 6:30 P.M. Eastern
Hurricanes Starter: Evan McKendry (1-0, 3.00 ERA)
Florida Starter: Tyler Dyson (0-0, 2.70 ERA)
Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM
Television: SEC Network+