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Canes Power Past Towson, 8-2

By David Villavicencio

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Hurricanes got another brilliant performance from their starting pitcher and a pair of homers helped power No. 7 Miami past Towson, 8-2.
Chris McMahon’s career day on the mound kept the Tigers’ offense in check, while the Hurricanes (7-3) exploded for seven runs over the first two innings to put the game out of Towson’s reach before 2,349 fans at Alex Rodriguez Park.
“We set the tone early,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “Of course, Chris [McMahon] had a great game first of all and he set the tone in the top of the first. He pitched an excellent, excellent game. It was good to see our offense get on the board early.”
The Canes, who led the ACC with 85 homers a year ago, played some small ball to get their offense going in the first inning. Leadoff man Jordan Lala put down a bunt single to third base to start the rally and the sophomore swiped second base.
Miami took advantage of a pair of Towson (2-6) errors, as Anthony Vilar reached when Reid Zitzelberg could not handle a grounder to second base and Lala scored when a hot shot off the bat of Adrian Del Castillo ricocheted off of first baseman Brad Powers’ glove for an RBI.
Vilar crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly by Raymond Gil, but Alex Toral followed with a two-run homer to right that gave Miami starter Chris McMahon a 4-0 lead to protect after one inning of work.
An inning later, Vilar crushed the first pitch he saw from Towson starter Nick Ramanjulu for three-run homer deep to right field that put the Canes ahead by seven runs. 
“We were just barreling up a lot more balls, having better at-bats, taking them into deeper counts and seeing our pitch and driving it,” Vilar said.
McMahon was dominant on the mound for Miami racking up a new career-high 12 strikeouts over 6.2 shutout innings of work to improve to 2-0 on the season. The junior allowed just six base runners to reach, giving up three hits, two walks and a hit by pitch. McMahon struck out the side in three of his six complete innings against Towson.
“It felt good out there. Getting ahead of guys, fastball command was working and the slider tonight was pretty good,” McMahon said. “I just attacked guys right away and pounding the zone.”
The Canes added on in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases before reliever Matt Watters walked Jordan Lala on five pitches and pushing home JP Gates to give Miami an eight-run advantage.
Towson showed signs of life in the top of the ninth, scoring a pair of runs against freshman lefty Yordani Carmona. But the left-hander recorded the final three outs of the game to secure the series for Miami. 
“All in all, just a solid performance. We’d like to see us do a little bit more as the game went on there,” DiMare said. “Just a good game, good series win. Now we gotta do a good job of finishing tomorrow.”
The Hurricanes will round out the weekend series against the Tigers on Sunday. Sophomore right-hander Slade Cecconi (1-1, 4.09 ERA) will take the mound for Miami opposite Towson freshman left-hander Tyler Russo (0-1, 10.12 ERA). First pitch is set for 1 p.m.