No. 10 Hurricanes Take Dramatic 3-2 Victory
March 14, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. — On a perfect night for baseball at Jay Bergman Field in Orlando, Fla., the tenth-ranked Miami Hurricanes won their midweek affair with the No. 19 Central Florida Knights by a final score of 3-2.
In a game that can only be described as a pitcher’s duel, tensions were high until the very last inning. With the Canes entering the bottom of the ninth up 3-2, Head Coach Jim Morris handed the ball off to his closer E.J. Encinosa, who promptly earned his third save in the past week to earn a key midweek victory.
The Hurricanes got the night’s action started in the top of the first inning, as lead-off batter Tyler Palmer was plunked by a pitch from UCF starter Ray Hanson to start the game. Sophomore outfielder Dale Carey then struck out, but on the attempted double-play throw to catch Palmer stealing, the ball passed the second baseman’s glove and made its way to the outfield. Palmer, who advanced to third on the play, would later score on an RBI groundout from senior catcher Peter O’Brien to give the Canes an early 1-0 lead.
Miami entered the fourth inning on the heels of a key inning-ending play in the bottom of the third. The Knights had landed runners on the corners with only one out, but Ewing induced a nifty double play from the infield to get out of the jam.
O’Brien then led off the fourth with his sixth double of the season on a pitch hit well to the opposite field gap. Senior Rony Rodriguez, who missed Tuesday’s game against Illinois State due to illness, connected on a single to the outfield that set the scene for a play at the plate. O’Brien, who was caught in a pickle on the play, collided with Knights’ catcher Ryan Breen and ejected from the game after tempers flared.
Central Florida, who got out of the jam with a big strikeout to freshman Esteban Tresgallo, would finally strike in the bottom of the fifth inning with two runs off Ewing. The Knights’ lead was short-lived, however, as Palmer crushed his third homerun of the year over the left-field wall to lead off the sixth inning. Ewing, rebounding after a disappointing fifth inning, needed only six pitches to get through his final inning of work before handing the game over to the Hurricane bullpen.
After a stellar performance in the Hurricanes’ win over visiting Illinois State on Tuesday night, the bullpen once again did the job on Wednesday. With two runners on and only one out, freshman Alexander Fernandez entered the game in relief of Adam Sargent to record another inning-ending double play started by Perez.
The Hurricanes would be the team to strike next on another uncommon play. With runners on the corners and one out, Dale Carey connected on a ball that looked like it would drop in right field. After a briliant diving grab, rightfielder Alex Friedrich doubled off Jarred Mederos at first base. Michael Broad crossed the plate before the second out of the play was recorded, however, giving the Canes a 3-2 lead entering the bottom of the eighth on a sac fly from Carey.
After Fernandez allowed the lead-off runner to reach, reliever AJ Salcines retired the next two batters before Garrett Kennedy caught Ronnie Richardson trying to steal second base. Encinosa then shut the Knights out in the bottom of the ninth with his fourth save of the season.