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Miami responds in Game 2 offensive showcase to force rubber game

A dominant start from Jake Smith and a distributed attack in the lineup handed Miami Game 2.

Barely hitting .100 entering the series against Georgia Tech, Miami center fielder Tony Jenkins produced a 3-for-5 performance at the plate in a Game 2 win at Mark Light Field on May 15, 2021 (Coral Gables, Fla.).
Credit: Miami Athletics

Back-to-back multi-run innings gave Miami more runs scored than in the series opener on Friday night, as Georgia Tech’s sixth-inning answer was not enough for a series win.

Pressure rested on Hurricanes right-handed starter Jake Smith (3-0, 3.46 ERA) to convert after Miami (28-16, 16-15 Atlantic Coast Conference) allowed 14 runs on 17 hits the night prior.

Smith and the Hurricanes’ lineup stung back, however.

“Needless to say, a big, big win for us,” Miami coach Gino DiMare said. “It starts on the mound, and we needed a good outing from our starter … He’s still not [there] yet from an extended standpoint, we still gotta watch his pitch count.”

The redshirt sophomore picked up where he left off in his second win on the season, dealing four scoreless innings before Yellow Jackets shortstop Luke Wadell and center fielder Tres Gonzalez each singled.

Charged with two earned runs, Smith was lifted for former Friday starter in senior right-hander Daniel Federman. The pitching change in the sixth did not prevent Georgia Tech (25-19, 19-13 ACC) from threatening, cutting the deficit to 5-3 off designated hitter John Anderson’s RBI single to left-center field.

Georgia Tech right-handed starting pitcher Andy Archer (4-5, 5.37 ERA) encountered a roadblock in the third, after throwing two innings of two-hit ball.

Sophomore catcher Adrian Del Castillo, 1-for-4 on the night, fisted a double to right field to score two runners in sophomore second baseman Anthony Vilar and freshman shortstop Dominic Pitelli. A single to shortstop from freshman third baseman Yohandy Morales gave the Hurricanes a 3-0 start.

“It was huge after a loss like yesterday, our offense didn’t really [play] like we wanted to,” Del Castillo said. “We told ourselves today that we gotta shorten up and put the ball in play no matter how or in what way … That hitting is super contagious.”

Batting barely over .100 entering the weekend, junior center fielder Tony Jenkins opened the floodgates in the seventh, leading a four-run rally on senior night at Mark Light Field.

“Just trying to keep everything simple right now, not really do too much,” said Jenkins on his approach at the plate. “I’ve been working really hard in the [batting] cages with [Norberto] Lopez [hitting coach] and everyone, just trying to get back to how I was before and just trying to stay positive through it all, honestly.”

Pouncing on left-handed reliever Luke Bartnicki, the Hurricanes continued to produce offensively with designated hitter Raymond Gil’s RBI single to right field and Jenkins’ double down the left field line.

Like the Yellow Jackets on Friday, the Hurricanes never looked back, scoring 10 runs while holding their opponent to seven hits.

DiMare called upon freshman closer Carson Palmquist in the top of the ninth, a performance that closed the door with seven strikes on 11 pitches for the 10-3 victory.

Smith garnered his third win to remain undefeated on the season, surrendering five hits while striking out six of 20 batters faced.

Miami and Georgia Tech will face off in a rubber match on Sunday. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.