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Vilar Walks It Off for the Canes vs. FGCU

Vilar Walks It Off for the Canes vs. FGCU

by David Villavicencio

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Fresh off a tough weekend at Pittsburgh, the Miami Hurricanes got some Mark Light Magic in a walk-off win over FGCU on Wednesday.

The Canes (18-11) got a huge hit from Anthony Vilar that helped Miami beat the Eagles (19-11), 3-2, before a sold-out crowd of 622 fans inside Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.

“Fortunate we won the game,” head coach Gino DiMare said. “In those games, anything can happen. We obviously really are not playing good. It’s a big win for us, it’s a big win.

Heading into the bottom of the ninth in a tie game, DiMare turned to pinch hitter CJ Kayfus in place of catcher Carlos Perez and the true freshman reached on an infield single when he slid under a tag at first base.

Jordan Lala bunted Kayfus over to second and Vilar delivered the game-winning RBI single to center that kept the Canes undefeated in midweek games.

“The emotion was great,” Vilar said. “We didn’t expect to be this tight into the game in the late innings but baseball is baseball. After that hit, I just saw [Alex] Toral all the way out there with me, waiting to go into the outfield to pile up there and have a good time.”

While the late-inning heroics gave Miami its first walk-off win of the season, the Hurricanes’offense got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first as Christian Del Castillo drove in his 25th run of the year with an RBI single to center that sent Lala home to make it 1-0.

But the Eagles put runners at the corners in the third against UM starter Jake Smith. DiMare went to the bullpen and reliever Andrew Walters uncorked a wild pitch that tied the game at one before Walters settled in with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning tied at 1.

Miami’s Alex Toral needed just one swing of the bat to put the Hurricanes back ahead in the fourth, clubbing a leadoff solo homer that hit the parking garage. The blast off FGCU starter Tyler Tipton put Miami ahead, 2-1.

In the top of the fifth, the Eagles tied the game at 2 when Brian Ellis hit a one-out solo homer off Walters. The Miami right-hander had struck out six straight batter before surrendering the homer to Ellis and finished the afternoon with a career-best seven strikeouts.

Miami loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth and Dominic Pitelli grounded to second base and the Eagles turned an inning-ending double play. But Daniel Federman returned to the mound and tossed his fourth shutout inning of relief to keep Miami in position to win in the ninth.

“I thought our bullpen, Walters and Federman, did a great job in coming in and pitching out of the pen,” DiMare said. “At the end of the day, we’re fortunate but very happy to have the W and now we move on.”

Miami is back in action this weekend, welcoming ACC foe Clemson to Mark Light Field for a three-game series set to begin Friday at 7 p.m.