Offense Comes Through in Ninth for 10-9 Win
Boca Raton, Fla. • FAU Baseball Stadium
|W||B. Garcia (5-2)|
|L||K. Alexander (3-1)|
|Eusebio, R. (1)|
|Sanger, B., Rocklein, T.|
|Collins, Z. (3)|
|Eusebio, R. 3 (5), Michelangeli, E. (8), Carey, D. (16), Collins, Z. 2 (34), Palmer, T. (23), Kennedy, G. (14)|
|Sanger, B., Chatham, C. 2, Abraham, K., Rocklein, T. 3|
BOCA RATON, Fla. — In a back-and-forth affair at FAU Baseball Stadium, senior rightfielder Tyler Palmer delivered a clutch two-out RBI single in the top of the ninth inning to help send No. 11 Miami to a 10-9 victory over the Owls.
The two teams combined for 19 runs on 27 hits in an offensive explosion, as the Hurricanes clinched the season series in a rubber match between the two teams.
Facing a 5-1 deficit after just three innings, the Hurricanes struck for seven runs in the top of the fourth to take an 8-5 advantage. The Owls would respond, however, plating three runs of their own in the home half of the inning to tie the game up.
But after 16 combined runs in the four innings of the game, neither team could capitalize on scoring opportunities until the ninth, when Palmer’s single to center scored sophomore Ricky Eusebio to make it 9-8. An RBI single from sophomore Garrett Kennedy capped Miami’s scoring at 10 – the seventh time Miami’s reached double digits.
“It was a great game,” head coach Jim Morris said. “It went back and forth, and both teams battled very hard, and fortunately we got a couple of runs late.”
FAU struck for a run in the ninth off a wild pitch from Bryan Garcia to make it 10-9, but the freshman righthander would hold firm. Garcia (5-2) struck out Jose Bonilla Traverso for the final out of the game to clinch the victory for Miami.
With the win, Miami (29-13) won its 16th game in its last 17 tries and improved to 10-1 in one-run games this spring.
“It was definitely a high energy game,” Morris said. “But anytime you get 10 runs, you have to win.”
It was FAU (21-19) who struck first Wednesday night, taking a 1-0 lead on a passed ball in just the second inning. With runners on the corners, a pitch from senior Javi Salas made its way past freshman catcher Zack Collins and towards the third base dugout. Brendon Sanger – who walked and took third on a single – scored easily on the play, but Salas struck out FAU third baseman CJ Chatham to end the inning with no further damage.
The Hurricanes responded immediately, tagging FAU lefthander Sean Labsan for a run in the top half of the second. Labsan, who entered his outing on a pitch count, struggled to find the strikezone early and wound up walking three batters. Two of those came in the second, when Brandon Lopez and Edgar Michelangeli each took free passes.
A grounder from senior Alex Hernandez then hit Michelangeli – who was ruled out on interference – but an RBI single from sophomore Ricky Eusebio with runners on the corners tied the game 1-1, and signaled the end of Labsan’s night.
Eusebio, making his sixth start of the season, finished the night 3-for-5 with a career-high three RBI.
“Ricky had a huge game for us,” Morris said. “He hadn’t been starting and he had a big night.”
FAU tagged Salas for four runs in the home half of the third, batting around and chasing the righthander after just 3.0 innings of work. An RBI double from Sanger, an RBI groundout from Chatham, and RBI singles from Tyler Rocklein and Kevin Abraham saw FAU jump out to a commanding 5-1 lead in the early going.
But the Hurricanes would respond with a dynamic inning of their own, scoring seven runs and sending 12 batters to the plate to gain their first lead of the night at 8-5. An RBI single from Michelangeli, a two-RBI double from Eusebio and a two-RBI triple from Collins keyed the big inning for the Hurricanes, who took 66 pitches from three different Owls pitchers in the inning.
Four Hurricanes recorded multi-hit games in the win: Palmer (2-for-5), Collins (2-for-5), Alex Hernandez (2-for-5) and Eusebio (3-for-5).
FAU lefthander Bo Logan tossed 3.0 scoreless innings of relief, but Miami’s bats reawoke in the ninth against FAU reliever Kevin Alexander. Eusebio cracked a one-out single through the leftside and stole second, but Carey flew out for the second out of the inning. Palmer, who drove in the game-tying run last time out against Notre Dame, cranked a single to centerfield to plate the speedy Eusebio.
An RBI single from late substitution Garrett Kennedy made it 10-8 in favor of the Hurricanes, who would hold on in the ninth for the win.
“Palmer had the big game-winning hit for us again,” Morris said. “It was a great win over a good club.”
No. 11 Miami continues its road swing Friday with a trip to South Carolina for a weekend ACC series against No. 20 Clemson. First pitch for Friday’s series opener, scheduled for broadcast on CSS with ESPN3 simulcast, is set for 6:30 p.m.