Iskenderian Lifts Canes to 4-3 Walk-Off Win
|W – B. Garcia (4-1)||1.0||0||0||0||0||3|
|L – D. Carr (0-2)||2.2||1||1||1||1||4|
|UM – G. Iskenderian||4||0||3||1||2||0|
|UM – R. Eusebio||4||2||1||0||2||0|
|PLAYER OF THE GAME|
|George Iskenderian | Jr. | INF
The junior infielder came up with the gamewinning hit, reached base five times, and raised his average to a team-best .376 in the thrilling win.
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Cardiac Canes did it again.
Junior George Iskenderian connected on the gamewinning single in extra innings, sending No. 11 Miami to a walk-off win over No. 21 FAU 4-3 Wednesday night at Mark Light Field.
On the first pitch he saw from FAU reliever Seth McGarry in the bottom of the tenth, Iskenderian cracked a single through the leftside to plate junior Ricky Eusebio from third base and extend Miami’s winning streak to five straight games.
The righthanded McGarry entered the contest to face Iskenderian, a righthanded batter, with lefthanded Zack Collins on deck. The matchup ended up working out in Miami’s favor, however, and improved the Hurricanes record to 18-2 at home this season.
Iskenderian smiled when asked about his first walk-off hit as a Hurricane.
“Me and Zack were talking it before the at bat, and we figured he was coming with a first-pitch slider,” Iskenderian said. “He probably wanted me, not Zack.
“I didn’t want Zack to win it, so I had to get the hit there. I didn’t want to hear it from him for the next three or four days.”
The win set up a season series rubber match with the Owls (26-7) to be played April 22.
“It was an exciting game. It was a big win for us. FAU is having a really good year, and they had beaten us the time before,” head coach Jim Morris said. “It was a good game throughout.”
Miami (25-9) received another efficient start from lefthander Danny Garcia, who exited after 5.1 innings. Though he allowed three runs against a talented Owls offense, Garcia managed to work his way out of jams for most of the night and gave the Hurricanes a chance to come back late.
He struck out four batters across his 91-pitch outing.
“I thought he threw pretty well,” Morris said. “I thought he could have thrown better, but I thought he threw pretty well…I thought this was going to be his toughest start of the year, pitching against them. This was a big start for him.”
Trailing 3-0 after FAU struck for runs on an RBI single from Brett Lashley and a two-RBI double from Brendon Sanger in the fifth, Miami staged a two-out rally that tied the game.
After failing to score runs off Owls lefthander Sean Labsan, who tossed 102 pitches and stranded the bases loaded twice, the Hurricanes wasted little time in tagging the FAU bullpen.
“I think he was challenging us in the beginning part of the game,” Collins said of Labsan. “We left a lot of runners on base, which was a big part of it. He threw a great game.”
Entering in the sixth inning as a pinch hitter, sophomore Johnny Ruiz was key to Miami’s comeback. Ruiz continued his hot stretch with a single through the leftside and advanced to second when freshman Carl Chester dropped a single just inside the foul line in shallow left off reliever John Sebelle.
Junior Ricky Eusebio connected on a potential double play groundball, but a throw to first made its way past FAU’s Esteban Puerta, scoring Ruiz and cutting FAU’s lead to 3-1.
“Johnny got a big hit to get it going,” Morris said.
And Miami wasn’t done there.
An RBI single from sophomore Garrett Kennedy was mishandled by Owls outfielder Brendon Sanger in right to make it 3-2 , while sophomore Zack Collins cracked a single off FAU reliever Bo Logan to tie the game at 3-3.
“That was a big at bat for me, because last time we played FAU, the same pitcher came in in a big situation and I popped up,” Collins said. “He had me on a 3-2 count, and I was doing anything but striking out with the tying man on. It dropped in.”
The Hurricanes had a chance to take the lead in the seventh, loading the bases off reliever Reilly Monkman on three straight walks. FAU reliever Devon Carr induced a groundout from Kennedy, however, underhanding to first for the final out of the inning.
Miami stranded 14 runners on the night.
The Hurricanes bullpen was dominant in relief, allowing just one hit in the final 4.2 innings of the game after Garcia exited in the sixth. The quartet of Daniel Briggi, Cooper Hammond, Michael Mediavilla and Bryan Garcia combined for seven strikeouts, no walk and zero earned runs allowed.
Garcia (4-1) picked up the win thanks to Iskenderian’s heroics in the bottom of the tenth, which avenged a 5-3 loss in Boca Raton earlier this season – Miami’s first loss of the year.
“It was fun. It was a fun game. Anytime you win, it’s fun,” Iskenderian said. “I think we approached it the same as every other game. You try to win every one you play, regardless of the opponent…it was good to beat them.”
Miami continues its nine-game homestand Friday with its series opener against Virginia Tech. First pitch for the game, slated for broadcast on WVUM 90.5 FM, is set for 7 p.m.