Coral Gables, Fla. • Alex Rodriguez Park
|W||A. Suarez (1-0)|
|L||J. Marks (0-1)|
|Thompson, D. 2 (2), Michelangeli, E. (1), Abreu, W. (1), Kennedy, G. (1), Hernandez, A. (1)|
|Carey, D. (1), Fieger, B. 2 (2), Kennedy, G. 2 (3), Hernandez, A. 2 (3), Rivera, L. 1 (1)|
February 16, 2014
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – No. 13 Miami broke out with a big offensive performance Sunday afternoon, powering its way to an 11-2 series-clinching victory over Maine at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
After connecting for just two hits Saturday night, the Hurricanes rebounded with their best offensive output of the series Sunday afternoon. The Hurricanes (2-1) struck for eight runs over the game’s first three innings, jumping out to a commanding advantage and cruising to a win in front of a crowd of 2,726.
The way lefthander Andrew Suarez pitched, they might not have needed all the fireworks.
The talented southpaw put forth a dominant outing, striking out 10 Maine batters and allowing just four hits and one earned run over five innings. The 10 strikeouts were a career high for Suarez (1-0), whose velocity overpowered the Black Bears (1-2) at the plate.
“I felt like [Maine] wasn’t catching up to my fastball,” Suarez said. “I threw a lot of fastballs, and mixed in some sliders because they have a lot of lefties. I worked on keeping the ball low and trusting my defense.”
Miami finished the game with 12 hits, including six extra-base hits, and rebounded from a disappointing effort Saturday with a convincing victory.
“That’s the way I expected this team to play,” head coach Jim Morris said. “They practice as hard as any team I’ve had at Miami, and we were as well-prepared coming into the season as anyone.”
Four players connected for their career-first hits: freshmen Willie Abreu, Laz Rivera and Brad Zunica, as well as redshirt freshman Edgar Michelangeli.
After striking out in the first inning, Abreu connected on a double to deep left in the third and was rewarded with a standing ovation from the crowd.
“You can definitely feel the pressure a little bit in the first few at bats of your career,” Abreu said. “Finally getting that hit out of the way, the other at bats are a lot more loose.”
Thompson rebounded from a 0-for-4 showing Saturday with his first two hits of the season – a double in a five-run third inning and another double in the fourth. Senior outfielder Dale Carey continued his hot start to the season with a 2-for-3 performance, and finished the series hitting .455 (5-for-11) with a .571 on-base clip.
“We hit the ball real well, drove the ball a lot better than the last two games obviously,” Thompson said. “We just played a lot more of a complete game today.”
The Hurricanes scored runs in each of the first three innings, including the five-run outburst in the third that sent Miami to an 8-1 advantage. Thompson’s connected on a lead-off double, and senior designated hitter Brad Fieger chased Maine starter Jake Marks (0-1) with an RBI single up the middle.
Three more doubles – one from Abreu, one from junior catcher Garrett Kennedy and another from Alex Hernandez – off reliever Burk FitzPatrick made it 7-1. Hernandez plated the final run of the inning on a wild pitch to cap the scoring.
“We talked about scoring early and getting the lead today, and our hitters did a very good job – all of them,” Morris said.
Zunica and Rivera each connected for late singles in the seventh inning, while Michelangeli knocked a double down the left field line in the eighth.
“It’s great. There has been a lot of talk about our freshmen class, and it’s finally showing,” Abreu said. “All of us are finally getting it together, starting to swing the bat and hitting the ball hard.”
Sophomore Thomas Woodrey and freshman Danny Garcia pitched the final four innings in relief, and combined to allow just one hit with five strikeouts.
“We played much, much better than we had the first two games today,” Morris said. “We played a complete game today.”
Miami returns to Mark Light Field Wednesday for a midweek matchup with FAU before a marquee weekend series against No. 23 Florida beginning Friday.
Season tickets to Miami’s 2014 season at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field start for as low as $99, with a Family Plan option (two adult tickets, three youth tickets) covering all home games available for just $199. For more information, visit CanesTix.com or call (305) 284-2263.