No. 13 Miami Opens Season with 6-2 Victory
Feb. 17, 2012
|1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||10||11||R||H||E||W: E. Erickson (1-0)|
|Rutgers||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||–||–||2||6||2||L: R. Smorol (0-1)|
2B: R. Rodriguez | J. Melillo
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – On a picturesque night for baseball at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field, sixth-year lefty Eric Erickson made a brilliant return to the mound in No. 13 Miami’s 6-2 season-opening win over Rutgers.
Erickson, who missed all of 2011 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, finished the day with an impressive final line of six innings, four hits, no runs and seven strikeouts. The Sarasota, Fla. native needed only 83 pitches to get through his six innings of work.
The combination of seniors Peter O’Brien and Rony Rodriguez provided offense for the Canes, who enjoyed the benefits of five Rutgers errors in the field. After O’Brien singled through the left side of the infield in the fourth inning, Rodriguez knocked in the transfer catcher on a double to the gap in left-center, stretching the team’s lead to 4-0. Rodriguez would later score on an error by the Rutgers shortstop for the team’s fifth run of the night.
The Canes opened the scoring with a two-run third inning, highlighted by an RBI single from outfielder Dale Carey. The Marietta, Ga. native knocked in first baseman Brad Fieger, who was hit by a pitch to open the inning. Fieger finished the game with two runs and one RBI.
Erickson, returning to game action for the first time since 2010, owned the strikezone on Friday night; 62 of his 83 pitchers were called for strikes. His ability to paint the corners and changed speed managed to keep Rutgers hitters off balance all night; only four of his 22 batters faced managed to reach base.
Reliver Javi Salas would follow up Erickson with a less stellar outing; the sophomore allowed two earned runs over his two innings, a stint that included two walks and two hits. But when transfer reliever Eric Nedeljkovic took over in the ninth, Rutgers could only a muster a single hit as the righty shut the game down.
The Canes return to action on Saturday night, when they take on the Scarlet Knights in Game Two of the series. Junior righty Eric Whaley is scheduled to face off against Ryan Fasano in the 7 p.m. affair.