Miami got a 2-1 win over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in a close game on opening night. The Hurricanes used good pitching and solid defense to win a tough, hard-fought, low-scoring game.
The game got off to a slow start offensively. Starting pitchers Harry Rutkowski and Brian Van Belle worked two scoreless frames to start off the game, and each appeared ready to settle in to a pitcher’s duel, until the bottom of the third.
Miami started off the inning with back-to-back singles from Anthony Vilar and JP Gates. Things appeared grim after both Tyler Paige and Jordan Lala struck out. However, Tony Jenkins saved the inning with a walk to load the bases, and Adrian Del Castillo came up with a clutch two-out bases-loaded hit to give Miami a 2-0 lead after three.
Brian Van Belle continued to work well through six innings. The senior allowed just four hits and struck out a career-high 10 batters during his outing. Van Belle’s only real danger for allowing a run came in the top of the sixth. Rutgers got back-to-back one-out singles from Victor Valderrama and Richie Schiekofer to put a runner in scoring position. Van Belle worked out of the jam with a strikeout and a flyout to Tony Jenkins in center.
Miami nearly extended their lead in the bottom of the sixth. An error allowed Adrian Del Castillo to reach to start the inning. After Ray Gil struck out Alex Toral roped a single to left for his first hit of the season, and Gabe Rivera flew out to right, pushing Del Castillo to third. Anthony Vilar then drew a walk to load the bases, but JP Gates struck out to end the inning. The ‘Canes will need to take advantage of opportunities like this more often as the season goes on.
In the top of the seventh Tyler Keysor came into the game in relief of Brian Van Belle. Keysor worked one of the best innings of his Miami career so far, fanning two batters in a 1-2-3 frame.
In the eighth, Keysor struggled. A mistake fastball allowed lead-off hitter Chris Brito to launch the pitch over the fence in center to make the game 2-1. After a strikeout, Keysor lost the strike zone and walked Victor Valderrama. With the tying run on base Gino DiMare opted to go to JP Gates out of the bullpen. Gates fanned Richie Schiekofer for the second out, and DiMare, playing matchups, went to the bullpen again in favor of Daniel Federman. Federman immediately hit the first batter he faced, Mike Nyisztor, but got Dan DiGeorgio to groundout to Tyler Paige to get out of the inning with the lead intact.
Miami missed another chance to get on the board in the bottom of the eighth. Ray Gil knocked a one-out double down the third base line for Miami’s first extra-base hit of the season, but two strikeouts from Alex Toral and Anthony Vilar prevented the Hurricanes from extending their lead.
In the top of the ninth a leadoff walk to Sam Owens put Daniel Federman in trouble. Fortunately for him, Tyler Paige, making his first start at second base, made an incredible diving play to force Tim Dezzi into a 4-6-3 double-play. After that, a groundout to Alex Toral ended the game and gave Miami a 2-1 season opening win.
Winning Pitcher: Brian Van Belle (1-0, 6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K)
Losing Pitcher: Harry Rutkowski (0-1, 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K)
Save: Daniel Federman (1)
Vs. Rutgers Game Two
Date & Time: Saturday, February 15, 7:00 P.M. Eastern
Hurricanes Starter: Chris McMahon (2019: 3-2, 3.73 ERA)
Rutgers Starter: Tommy Genuario (2019: 3-5, 3.14 ERA)
Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM
Television: ACC Network Extra