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Canes Beat UM Alumni 4-2 in Annual Exhibition

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Over 80 Hurricanes baseball alumni returned to Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field on Saturday night for the annual FanFest and Alumni Game.
 
An alumni team that featured Colorado Rockies prospect Willie Abreu, Tampa Bay Rays farmhand Carl Chester and fan favorites like Kevin Brown and Kris Clute fell short to the 2019 Canes, 4-2. Gino DiMare, who starred as an outfielder for the Canes from 1989-92, was happy to see so many players come out for his first Alumni Game as head coach.
 
“It’s awesome seeing the guys last night at the banquet and all of the guys that came out today,” DiMare said. “That’s what this Alumni Game is for. It was nice for me to see a lot of guys I played with, a lot of guys I coached and so many that played before my time. Always hearing [PA announcer Jay Rokeach] announcing them before the game is special. We had a bunch of big league guys come back. All of that creates a nice atmosphere for us and the fans.”
 
The Canes wasted little time getting their offense going against alumni starter Danny Garcia, as Freddy Zamora doubled home Tony Jenkins to give Miami a 1-0 lead in the first. 
 
Two innings later, Willy Escala stole second and third before Anthony Vilar’s sacrifice fly to left off left-hander Steven Ewing pushed Escala home and doubled the Canes’ lead.
 
“We did some good things, some situational hitting where we knocked some guys in with less than two outs at third base,” DiMare said. “We did a good job getting good pitches to drive the ball to the outfield.”
 
Miami starter Greg Veliz was strong over four shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out seven. Veliz retired the final four batters he faced, while JP Gates and Daniel Federman each retired the side in order in their scoreless innings to run a streak of 10 consecutive alumni hitters retired.
 
“I wanted to get my feet wet and get out there under the lights again,” Veliz said. “My goal was to pound the zone and get myself back in a game routine.”
 
Catcher Joe Gomez singled to right off junior right-hander Tyler Keysor to snap and 11-batter streak of Alumni hitters retired. Keysor kept the shutout intact, striking out three in his lone inning of work.
 
The Canes added two more runs in the eighth when Raymond Gil ripped a double to left off Daniel Epstein to push Tyler Paige home. One batter later, Isaac Quiñones’ RBI single to left pushed Gil home to make it 4-0 and those runs proved important.
 
The Alumni mounted a two-out rally in the top of the ninth, as Hunter Tackett worked a bases loaded walk to push across a baserunner and added another run on a passed ball before the final out was recorded. 
 
Prior to the Alumni Game, the team signed autographs and took pictures with hundreds of fans at the annual Fan Fest.
 
The Hurricanes will be back in action on Friday as they open up the 2019 campaign against Rutgers on February 15 at 7 pm.