The Miami Hurricanes played a baseball game for the first time in 345 days on Friday night. The Hurricanes travelled to Gainesville to take on the rival Florida Gators in the first game of the season and the Gators’ first game at their new ballpark. Miami’s offense struggled throughout much of the game and the Hurricanes missed too many opportunities in the early innings, losing 7-5.
After Miami went down in order in the top of the first Nathan Hickey hit a solo homerun to give Florida a 1-0 lead. The Hurricanes immediately responded with a run of their own in the top of the second. Freshman Yohandy Morales led off the inning with a double and Alex Toral followed with a walk to give the Hurricanes two runners on with nobody out. A single from Christian Del Castillo scored Morales, and Tony Jenkins appeared to have a sac-fly to score Toral, but Del Castillo was out at third before Toral had crossed home plate.
The Hurricanes had an opportunity to take the lead in the third when they loaded the bases with one out. Unfortunately Yohandy Morales lined a ball directly at Kendrick Calilao and Alex Toral struck out to end the threat and miss what turned out to be Miami’s best chance in the game.
Florida rallied to take the lead in the fifth inning. Two weakly hit singles from Josh Rivera and Kendrick Calilao gave UF two men on with nobody out. Daniel Federman got a flyout to left for the first out, but a seeing eye single from Jacob Young scored UF’s second run of the game. A walk then loaded the bases before Nathan Hickey blew the game open with a two-RBI ground-rule double that almost went foul.
The Gators extended their lead in the sixth inning with a triple from Josh Rivera and an RBI single from Kendrick Calilao that made the score 5-1. Then, in the eighth, Kris Armstrong put the game out of reach with a monster two-run home run to make the score 7-1.
Miami tried to rally back in the top of the ninth. A single and two walks loaded the bases for Christian Del Castillo; who hit a two-RBI double to make the score 7-3. Tony Jenkins then drove a sac-fly to center to score Jared Thomas and make the score 7-4. Dominic Pitelli followed with a single to bring the tying run to the plate with the top of the order coming up. JP Gates hit a sac-fly to make the score 7-5 before Anthony Vilar ended the game with a flyout to center. In the end, it was too little, too late for a Miami team that missed too many opportunities in their opening game.
Miami’s offense struggled mightily in their first game of the season. The Hurricanes went four consecutive innings without a hit after the fourth inning. Miami was very passive at the plate during the entire night, and had no response for Tommy Mace or reliever Christian Scott through the middle innings. The Hurricanes’ approach was better during the rally in the ninth inning, and hopefully that will transition into a better performance tomorrow.
The Hurricanes will again dread their missed opportunities on Friday night, much as they did during this series last year. However they’ll have to forget this loss quickly and prepare for Jack Leftwich tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.
Winning Pitcher: Tommy Mace (1-0, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K)
Losing Pitcher: Daniel Federman (0-1, 4.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)
Save: Franco Aleman (1)
@ UF Game 2
Date & Time: Saturday, February 20, 1:00 P.M. Eastern
Hurricanes Starter: Alejandro Rosario (2020: N/A)
Florida Starter: Jack Leftwich (2020: 2-0, 4.15 ERA)
Radio: WVUM 90.5 FM
Television: SEC Network+ (ESPN3)