Canes Walk-Off Over FSU 5-4 in 10 Innings

Canes Walk-Off Over FSU 5-4 in 10 Innings
By Camron Ghorbi

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – On a night when he connected for a grand slam against archrival Florida State in front of a sold-out crowd at Mark Light Field, junior Michael Burns didn’t hesitate when asked about his most important contribution to Miami’s 5-4 win.

It wasn’t the slam, but a hard-hit grounder that Florida State shortstop Taylor Walls threw away for walk-off error, scoring junior Brandon Gali from second and leading Miami to its biggest win of the year.

“Groundball to shortstop, couldn’t draw it up any better,” Burns said afterwards.

Helped by 6.2 strong innings from junior lefthander Michael Mediavilla, the Hurricanes (19-20, 10-10 ACC) forced a rubber match to be played Sunday at noon.

Even after Florida State (25-16, 10-10 ACC) tied the game 4-4 in the eighth on a solo home run from Jackson Lueck, the Hurricanes showed resiliency to capture their first extra-innings victory of the season.

“It was a big win for us, needless to say,” head coach Jim Morris said. “Our guys are playing hard, they’re working hard, and we talked about getting the big hit – Burns got the big hit, and we got a break at the end.”

Mediavilla went deeper into the start against the rival Seminoles than any other start all year, overcoming early struggles to deliver one of his best outings. The big southpaw struck out 10 batters, one shy of a career high, and threw the second-most pitches in any of his 28 career starts (118).

Sophomore Andrew Cabezas pitched the final 3.1 innings to earn the win. He struck out four batters across 43 pitches, with his lone mistake coming on the Lueck home run to lead off the eighth.

Burns’ only other home run as a Hurricane also came with the bases loaded, that time against Georgia Tech on March 12.

Freshman Nico Baldor singled, senior Joe Gomez walked and senior Randy Batista was hit by a pitch from Florida State lefthander Tyler Holton to set the stage for Burns in the fourth inning.

“The scouting report was that [Holton] throws a good changeup,” Burns said. “I had to see it up. In my first at-bat I didn’t, I swung at it low. I was just trying to make an adjustment and not be too passive.”

With his team trailing by three runs, Burns cranked a 1-2 pitch from Holton into the netting above the left field fence to put Miami ahead, 4-3.

“He hung one up and I got a good piece of the barrel on it, didn’t try to do too much,” Burns said.
Florida State took the lead in the second on a solo home run from Quincy Nieporte off Mediavilla. The Seminoles pushed that lead to 3-0 when Nieporte dropped a two-RBI single to shallow left an inning later.

After the third, however, Mediavilla allowed just three baserunners over the final 3.2 innings, two coming via Miami infield errors.

“It obviously took me awhile [to get into a groove],” Mediavilla said. “Once I got in there, my team gave me the lead…everyone was fired up, I knew I had to barrel down and not give up another run, and just gut it out the whole way through. I battled the whole way.”

After a flyout by Gomez to open the 10th, Gali reached on an infield single off reliever Alec Byrd (2-2) that Florida State third baseman Dylan Busby let roll in hopes of going foul.

It did not, bouncing off the front of the third base bag for a hit.

“He had me two strikes, and we always talk with two strikes, put the ball in play and see what happens,” Gali said. “I think the result was a perfect example of what happens when you put the ball in play. We got lucky.”

Gali, who entered as a defensive replacement late in the game, stole second unchallenged during Burns’ at bat.

“I was really surprised,” he said. “I thought it was a dead ball or something, because the shortstop wasn’t covering and the catcher didn’t even make an attempt.”

Burns came through for Miami, putting the ball in play off reliever Drew Carlton and sending the remainder of the 4,999 fans in attendance into celebration.

“That kid is a good player. He had made good throws all night, good plays all night,” Burns said. “I figured I better move to give myself a chance. I got it off the end of the bat a little bit and just started running…that’s the game. That’s what happens.”

The two teams return to Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field Sunday for the series finale. First pitch for the contest, slated for broadcast on ACC Network Extra, 560 WQAM and WVUM 90.5 FM, is set for 12 p.m.

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