Canes Outlast FGCU in Marathon Game, 13-9
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Miami Hurricanes won a rainy five hour and forty minute marathon that featured over an hour of delays, outlasting Florida Gulf Coast, 13-9.
The Canes (21-12, 7-8 ACC) faced a three-run deficit in the first inning, but a 51-minute weather delay washed away the bad energy inside Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field and Miami charged back with nine runs over the first four innings to pull away from the Eagles (22-10, 4-2 ASUN).
“We kept battling and the offense kept scoring runs,” head coach Gino DiMare said. “We left a lot of guys on base, as they did too. We had the bases loaded five times during the game, so you’d like to say we should have scored more runs or we could have broke it open even more. But when you have 13 hits and 13 runs, that should be good enough to win. “It’s disappointing that we keep letting teams back into it late in the game. I think we battled all the elements and I’m happy that we were able to come out with a W.”
The Eagles wasted no time getting their offense going on Tuesday, scoring three runs on four hits against Miami starter JP Gates.
Alex Brait tripled to the right field corner and drove in Marc Coffers, who led off the game with a single thru the left side. One batter later, Jay Hayes’ base hit thru the left side sent home Brait before Gates recorded an out.
The freshman left-hander appeared to settle down, getting a flyout and a strikeout, but he walked Joe Kinker and gave up an RBI single to center to Richie Garcia before being lifted in favor of right-hander Tyler Keysor with two outs in the top of the first and FGCU leading, 3-0.
With a 2-2 count to Miami leadoff hitter Jordan Lala in the bottom of the first, the lightning alarm went off and forced a 51-minute delay. FGCU starter Brenden Heiss struggled with his command after the delay, walking the bases loaded and uncorking a wild pitch that allowed Lala to come home and put the Hurricanes on the scoreboard.
“Before the game, it was already agreed that the game would be official after five innings,” DiMare said. “You’re worried because you’re down three and the guys knew this before the game. It was explained to them that it wasn’t going to be a halt game where we would pick it up next week when they come back. So if after five innings the sky opens up on us and we’re down, that’s it.”
Miami appeared set to score more when Gates, who remained in the game as the designated hitter, ripped a two-out line drive up the middle but shortstop Eric Gonzalez got a glove on it to tip the ball in the air and snared it before it could hit the ground and protect a 3-1 lead.
An inning later, Miami loaded the bases again and scored its second run of the game when reliever Garrett Bye hit Freddy Zamora with a pitch and pushed home Alex Toral. Adrian Del Castillo cleared the bases with a two-out three-run double to center that put Miami ahead, 5-3. Raymond Gil followed with a single to left that sent Del Castillo home and closed out the big inning with a 6-3 Miami advantage.
“Del had an unbelievable game,” DiMare said. “That was a big, big two-out double with the bases loaded to clear the bases and then he comes up big for us again late in the game and adds another RBI.”
FGCU threatened in the top of the third, loading the bases with two outs against Keysor, but Mark Mixon struck out Gonzalez looking to end the inning and protect the Hurricanes’ three-run lead.
The Canes continued to add on in the bottom of the third, as Toral hit a sacrifice fly to the warning track in right that drove home Tony Jenkins from third. Miami loaded the bases for the third consecutive inning, but FGCU reliever Keegan Collett got Del Castillo to flyout and end the inning with the Canes up, 7-3.
Miami loaded the bases again in the fourth and added another run when Gabe Rivera hit a sacrifice fly to right and Gates tagged up to score from third. Lala followed with an RBI double to left that pushed home Jenkins and gave Miami a six-run lead through four innings.
“We wanted to get the lead early, which we did, but not in the first inning after letting them score three runs,” DiMare said. “We did a good job of scoring nine runs in the first four innings, but you’re never safe in this game.”
The Eagles cut into Miami’s lead in the sixth, scoring a pair of runs thanks to some missteps by the Canes. Miami reliever Albert Maury sandwiched a passed ball by Adrian Del Castillo with a pair of wild pitches, the second of which allowed Gonzalez to score from third. One pitch later, Raymond Gil’s throw went wide of Toral at first and Anthony Gonnella scored from third to shave Miami’s lead to four 9-5.
An inning later, FGCU added another run thanks to an error by the Canes. With runners at the corners and two outs Zamora could not handle a ground ball by Gonzalez and Keith Stevens scored from third to cut Miami’s lead to three.
The Canes got the two runs back in the bottom half of the seventh with a two-run single to center by Jenkins that made it 11-6 in favor of the home team.
But FGCU put three runs on the board against lefty Jeremy Cook, as Brait hit a two-run homer and Hayes followed with a solo shot that made it 11-9 and ended Cook’s outing without recording an out in the eighth.
Daniel Federman came in and faced two batters before the lights went out at 11 p.m., with FGCU runners on first and second and nobody out. After an 18-minute delay, the lights returned and play resumed with the Eagles loading the bases with one out. Federman pitched out of the jam, striking out Gonzalez and Gonnella to preserve the two-run lead.
Miami added two runs in the bottom of the eight, capped by Del Castillo’s third hit of the night – an RBI single that tied his career-best with four runs batted in.
“I’m very happy with the fact that we kept playing throughout the game,” DiMare said. “We scored two in the seventh and two in the eighth. Del’s RBI helps ease it a little bit. They had first and second and then went second and third. At the end of the day, if we are only up a couple of runs that puts a lot of pressure on you as a team. It was a big game for him offensively.”
Gregory Veliz became the 15thdifferent pitcher tp toe the rubber on Tuesday night, as Miami used eight hurlers and FGCU had seven pitchers enter the game. The junior closed out the win for Miami in the ninth.
Miami travels to FGCU for a 6:30 p.m. start inside Swanson Stadium on Wednesday.