Chester Leads Offense in 10-8 Win Over Jackets

Chester Leads Offense in 10-8 Win Over Jackets
By Camron Ghorbi

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami’s offense scored a season-high 10 runs, junior Carl Chester had a career night at the plate, and the Hurricanes topped No. 23 Georgia Tech in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener, 10-8, at Mark Light Field Friday night.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak for Miami, wearing special pink-tinted uniforms in the team’s annual breast cancer awareness game.

Freshman Albert Maury, Jr. picked up his first career win with 2.2 scoreless innings of relief.

Chester recorded the first four-hit game as a Hurricane in a 4-for-4, two-double, three-run performance, raising his batting average to a team-best .319.

Miami’s 10 hits were also a season high.

“I think hitting was just contagious tonight,” Chester said. “From inning one, we were swinging the bat and putting the ball in play, which is something we’ve been struggling with all year. We really opened it up tonight.”

Georgia Tech loaded the bases in the ninth and plated a run, but sophomore Frankie Bartow finished off his third save of the year by retiring Chase Murray on a lineout to end the game.

“It’s a big win for us, needless to say,” head coach Jim Morris said. “We’ve been battling and our guys are working hard and playing hard. They haven’t been getting a lot of breaks.”

The Hurricanes (5-8, 1-0 ACC) plated a pair of runs in each of the game’s first three innings to jump out in front.

Junior James Davison provided some early offense when he connected on a leadoff triple over the head of Jackets centerfielder Ryan Peurifoy to open the first inning.

An RBI groundout by senior Johnny Ruiz scored Davison for a quick 1-0 lead. Chester, who followed with a single and took third on a failed pickoff by Georgia Tech righthander Xzavion Curry, doubled Miami’s lead on a sacrifice fly from sophomore Romy Gonzalez.

With two runners aboard in the second, a bunt single from senior Edgar Michelangeli scored Michael Burns, who walked to open the inning. A passed ball charged to Yellow Jackets catcher Joey Bart made it 4-0 in favor of the hosts.

Bart atoned for the error with a two-run home run in the third to halve Miami’s lead, but a two-RBI triple from Burns – one of three Hurricane triples on the night – put Miami back on top by four at 6-2 in the bottom of the frame.

Georgia Tech (9-3, 0-1 ACC) took its first lead of the game with a five-run fifth inning that chased Lepore.

A two-RBI double by Tech’s Coleman Poje off reliever Albert Maury Jr., tied the game a six, and a sacrifice fly from Chase Murray made it 7-6 in favor of the Jackets.

Lepore allowed career-high totals of eight hits and seven earned runs. He struck out two and walked one on 83 pitches in front of 2,546 fans.

Miami would not be discouraged, plating a pair in the home half to regain an 8-7 lead.

Gonzalez tripled in Chester, who opened the inning with an infield single, and an RBI groundout from Burns scored Gonzalez to put Miami back on top.

Curry (3-1) was charged with a career-high eight runs in the first loss as a Yellow Jacket. He struck out six and walked one across 89 pitches.

“We battled back. Our offense was outstanding tonight and kept battling to score more runs,” Morris said. “We scored runs every way you can possibly score and took advantage of their mistakes.”

Maury (1-0) was dominant in relief, tossing a career-long 2.2 innings and allowing just one hit. He struck out a career-high four batters, needing just 35 pitches before giving way to sophomore Andrew Cabezas in the eighth, where he struck out the side.

Chester’s second of the double came in the eighth and provided two insurance runs for the Hurricanes to help secure Maury’s first career win.

“Honestly, the win for me doesn’t really mean anything. It’s the team win that means the most,” Maury said. “We’ve been struggling, but we’re taking every day as a new day, competing every day and doing what we can to win ballgames.”

The two teams return to Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field for Game 2 of the series on Saturday night. First pitch for the contest, slated for broadcast on ACC Network Extra and WVUM 90.5 FM, is set for 7 p.m.

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