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Hurricanes Cruise Past Maine in Postseason Opener

Hurricanes Cruise Past Maine in Postseason Opener

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — As it has done all year, Miami mashed.

The top-seeded Hurricanes hammered three home runs and left no doubt against fourth-seeded Maine at Mark Light Field.

No. 1 seed Miami jumped out to an early lead and cruised to a 9-1 win in its NCAA Coral Gables Regional opener Friday night.

“You couldn’t script it any better with the home run out of the gate,” head coach Gino DiMare said. “We hit a few home runs today and jumped up very early. Gage [Ziehl] just did an outstanding job of pounding the strike zone, getting ahead of hitters and getting our hitters back in the dugout….All in all, pretty much couldn’t draw it up any better than our first game here.”

Sparked by sophomore Edgardo Villegas and junior Yohandy Morales, the Hurricanes (41-19) put up a seven-spot across the first two innings.

Villegas’ two-run shot broke the ice in the first before Morales’ three-run round-tripper in the second punctuated the early 7-0 advantage over the Black Bears (32-20).

Morales’ 17th homer of the season marked his 46th career blast, pushing the Miami native into fifth place in program history.

“Being from here in Miami and doing it in front of friends and family obviously feels special,” Morales said. “But the main thing was winning and we came out with the win. That’s the most important thing.”

The seven-run cushion was more than enough for Miami starter Gage Ziehl (8-4).

Ziehl limited the potent Black Bears’ offense to one unearned run across six innings. The right-hander punched out seven of the first 10 batters he faced, reaching triple-digit strikeouts for the season.

“It’s cool,” Ziehl said of eclipsing the century mark. “But at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the W.”

Junior right fielder Zach Levenson launched a two-run jack in the seventh to cap off the nine-run outburst.

With the victory, the Hurricanes will face second-seeded Texas Saturday. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. at Mark Light Field.

To keep up with the University of Miami baseball team on social media, follow @CanesBaseball on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.