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No.22 Miami 5, No.14 Florida 2: Morales’ Home Run Powers Hurricanes to Friday Win

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Yohandy Morales’ 400 foot home run gave Miami a lead they never relinquished on Friday.

Credit: Miami Athletics

The Miami Hurricanes opened their annual rivalry series against the Florida Gators with a 5-2 win on Friday night. Hurricanes starting pitcher Carson Palmquist earned his third career win as a starter in his third career start, and set the tone for Miami before Yohandy Morales’ two-run home run in the fourth inning gave the Hurricanes the lead.

The first three innings of the game went the way many expected, with Florida starter Hunter Barco and Carson Palmquist each having scoreless outings. Florida threatened to score the game’s first run in the third when Colby Halter hit a two-out double, but a strikeout ended the inning.

Miami finally got in a rhythm on offense in the fourth inning. Jacob Burke led off with a hard-hit single up the middle, and Yohandy Morales followed the center fielder with a long home run to left field that flew 400 feet and had an exit velocity of 104 mph.

Florida again came close to scoring in the top of the fifth. A two-out single, hit-by-pitch, and a walk loaded the bases for UF, but Palmquist struck out Sterlin Thompson to end the inning and escape the jam. The three runners left on base in the fifth were part of a total of 12 runners Florida left stranded throughout the evening.

The Hurricanes carried the momentum from Palmquist’s clutch strikeout into the bottom of the fifth inning. Dominic Pitelli led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a sac-bunt, and then made one of the best base running plays I’ve ever seen from a college player. I can’t properly explain it in words, so you’ll just have to watch it.

Miami continued the rally afterwards. Jacob Burke singled with one out to put a runner on base for Yohandy Morales, and the Hurricanes’ third baseman took advantage for the second consecutive inning, ripping an RBI-double into the left-field corner to score Burke all the way from first.

In the seventh inning Florida gave Miami’s bullpen some trouble. Alex McFarlane started the inning on the mound for the Hurricanes and walked the first two batters he faced. McFarlane struck out the third batter he faced before exiting the game in favor of Rafe Schlesinger. Back-to-back hits from Florida followed the pitching change to score two runs before Schlesinger finished his outing with a strikeout. With two-out and the tying run in scoring position, Andrew Walters entered the game and escaped the inning with a strikeout to preserve Miami’s two-run lead.

Jacob Burke extended Miami’s lead with an RBI-groundout in the bottom of the seventh to add another run for Andrew Walters to work with. Walters wouldn’t need it though, as he allowed just two baserunners over the final two innings on his way to his third save of the season.

With the win, Miami moves to 8-1 and now needs just one more win this weekend to win the season series against Florida for the second year in a row. Despite walking eight UF batters as a team and allowing seven hits, the Miami pitching staff allowed just two runs and worked out of multiple jams by getting key outs. The Hurricanes offense drew just one walk for the game, but had eight hits on the evening and two multi-hit innings to secure the win.

The second game of the series is scheduled to get underway at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday night. Karson Ligon moves into Miami’s weekend rotation to make his first career weekend start Saturday.

Game Info

Winning Pitcher: Carson Palmquist (3-0, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K)

Losing Pitcher: Hunter Barco (2-1, 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)

Save: Andrew Walters (3)