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Rodriguez the New King of Miami on Tuesday Night

March 8, 2011

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RHEW: D. Miranda (1-0)Illinois State10021000000465L: K. Long (2-1)Miami000012100015144 


2B: T. Wiesemeyer, J. Colon
HR: R. Rodriguez
RBI: M. Mirabal (2), S. Rowland, R. Rodriguez, H. Martinez, S. Perez


Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Junior Rony Rodriguez took a 0-1 pitch deep over the left field wall for his second home run of the season on Tuesday night, helping the University of Miami win a 5-4 ballgame against visiting Illinois State University in walk-off fashion during the 11th inning at Alex Rodriguez Park in Coral Gables, Fla.

Miami (5-7) trailed 4-0 after 4 1/2 innings, committing three errors in that span and accounting for three wild pitches and two passed balls. With head coach Jim Morris suited up for the first time in six games and back in the Hurricanes’ dugout, the 18th-year skipper was not impressed with his team’s defensive efforts early-on.

With the score tied at 4-all head into what would be the third extra-inning game of the season for the `Canes, junior closer Daniel Miranda struck-out the side in the top of the 11th after allowing a man aboard with a single midway through the Illinois State (7-4) at-bat.

UM second baseman Michael Broad hit a deep shot to the power alley for the second out of the inning as it was caught right at the wall by ILSU’s Chad Hinshaw less than two feet away from being the winning run. The next batter ILSU closer Kenny Long saw – Rony Rodriguez – would not get the same outcome as a breaking pitch away was nailed on the end of the bat for Rodriguez’s second round-tripper of the campaign, and the first walk-off home run win for Miami since Zeke DeVoss accomplished the task as a freshman a season ago in the final game of a three-game series against Manhattan at home.

Already leading, 1-0, Illinois State plated two runs in the top-half of the fourth, using a Matt Mirabal two-run scoring single to center field that drove in Josh Colon and Mike Hollenbeck for the 3-0 Redbirds advantage. Both runs were credited to UM relief pitcher Travis Miller – seeing his first action of the 2011 campaign, who came in for freshman starter AJ Salcines.

Salcines, working on a pitch count from assistant head coach/pitching coach J.D. Arteaga, threw 66 pitches in three innings of work, allowing one unearned run on one hit, two walks and three strikeouts in his first collegiate start.

After Illinois State put another score on the board in the top of the fifth to move ahead in the game, 4-0, Miami finally showed signs of life in the bottom-half of the frame.

Already leaving a total of seven men on base in four innings, the Hurricanes’ Harold Martinez registered a sacrifice fly to center field that allowed Shane Rowland to tag-up from third for UM’s first run of the game.

In the sixth, UMiami would get another two runs across when center fielder Dale Carey kicked off the inning reaching on an error, followed by shortstop Stephen Perez’s first-of-two hits on the evening – advancing himself and Carey into scoring position via an error on ILSU’s Ty Wiesemeyer in right. Carey would later score on a wild pitch from Redbirds’ starter JD Leanard, while Perez was plated shortly thereafter via Rowland’s RBI single down the right field line.

UM tied things up in the seventh when sophomore right fielder Chantz Mack came around to score on a Perez RBI single to center.

The win went to Miranda out of the pen, working the final two innings, giving up just a single hit and striking out a season-high five batters. The win was the Miami native’s first of the season, and the ninth of his career. The loss went to the Redbirds’ Kenny Long who dropped to 2-1 on the year, allowing just the one run – Rodriguez’s game-winner – on three hits and a season-high six strikeouts.

ILSU was led at the plate by designated hitter Mike Hollenbeck with two hits and a walk, as well as Mirabal’s two-run scoring single earlier in the contest.

Miami was paced by a season-high five players with a multi-hit game, including Rodriguez who was 4-of-6 at the dish, with the solo shot being the team’s third of the year – of which he owns two. Beside Rodriguez on Tuesday night was Rowland’s 3-for-4 night with a RBI; as well as Michael Broad, Perez and Mack each collecting two hits in the game.

The Hurricanes will look to win consecutive games for the first time this season tomorrow night, welcoming the Redbirds back to Alex Rodriguez Park for the final game of the two-game midweek set. Tonight’s win snapped a four-game losing skid for the `Canes – the longest during the regular season since 2005, the same year they advanced to the NCAA Lincoln [Neb.] Super Regional.

On Wednesday, Miami will throw left-hand sophomore Steven Ewing on the hill, while Illinois State counters with right-hander Dan Savas. Ewing carries a 0-1 record and an ERA of 5.06 into the game, with the southpaw earning a no-decision in his last outing against USF a week ago in Tampa. Savas enters with a 1-0 mark on the year, toting an ERA of 4.82.

For more information on the University of Miami baseball team, please log on to HurricaneSports.com. To follow the UM Baseball Team via twitter, please navigate to Twitter.com/CanesBaseball. You can also access the official UMiami Baseball blog at TheUBaseball.com.

You can keep up-to-date with all UM Athletics via twitter at Twitter.com/HurricaneSports.  You can also become a fan of the `Canes on Facebook at Facebook.com/MiamiHurricanes.


With the win, the Hurricanes are now…

  • 5-7 overall
  • 4-0 all-time versus Illinois State
  • 5-2 at Alex Rodriguez Park this season
  • 5-1 in games when the opponent starts a right-handed pitcher
  • 2-3 when the opponent scores first
  • 1-3 when trailing after six innings
  • 2-1 in extra innings this season

Tonight’s Starters
The Hurricanes made a few changes to the starting lineup Wednesday night. Rony Rodriguez (first base) and Chris Pelaez (designated hitter) each made their first starts of the season at their respective position. It was also Pelaez’s first overall start of the season. He appeared as a pinch hitter on two occasions in Gainesville last weekend.

AJ Salcines made his first start on the mound, recording three innings on the night. He surrendered only one hit and one unearned run, while striking out three.

Welcome Back
Head coach Jim Morris made his first appearance in the Hurricanes’ dugout since the win over Appalachian State on Feb. 24. He has missed seven games this season due to gall bladder surgery.

Tonight’s Opponent
The Redbirds, out of the Missouri Valley Conference, fly into Miami on a five-game winning streak. They are in the midst of a two-week trip to Florida, in which they are scheduled to play eight games in warm weather. They defeated Minnesota State, Xavier (Ohio) and Bowling Green in Winter Haven, Fla., over the weekend.

Illinois State head coach Mark Kingston was an assistant under Jim Morris when the Hurricanes won the NCAA National Championship in 2001.

Let’s Go Home
Rony Rodriguez capped off a career night with walk-off homer in the bottom of the 11th inning to send the `Canes home winners. The junior collected career-highs in hits (4) and at-bats (6) Tuesday night.

The last time the `Canes hit a game-ending homer was on February 21, 2010, when Zeke DeVoss hit a two-run homer against Rutgers.

Middle of the Order
Miami received strong production throughout the lineup as five hitters recorded at least two hits on the game, with Rony Rodriguez as the number two hitter; Shane Rowland, the number three hitter; Michael Broad; and cleanup hitter Rony Rodriguez all recording at least two hits.

Runners left on base plagued the Hurricanes once again as they left 12 men on the base paths on the night. Illinois State left nine runners on base themselves.

Racking Them Up
Miami pounded out a season-high 14 hits on the night. The previous high was ten knocks, which happened in games against Appalachian State (Feb. 26) and Florida (March 4).

Work Horse
Junior left-hander Sam Robinson made his team-leading eighth appearance, keeping his earned run average at 0.00, with three scoreless innings – including a career-high tying four punch-outs. He has now appeared four of the last five games, all out of the bullpen.

Bark in the Park

Twenty-five dogs joined the festivities on Tuesday night as a part of the Bark in the Park promotion. The dogs enjoyed the night out in the right field bleachers watching the Hurricanes play.