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Miami Knocks Off No. 4 Florida, 10-6

Miami Knocks Off No. 4 Florida, 10-6

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Series even.

After dropping the opener to the fourth-ranked Florida Gators Friday night, Miami responded in emphatic fashion Saturday.

The Hurricanes stormed out to an early 5-0 lead and never looked back, as Miami downed Florida, 10-6, in front of a sellout crowd at Mark Light Field.

“This one was obviously huge,” sophomore first baseman Jason Torres said. “We lost yesterday, so we needed to come out here today and punch them in the face right out of the gate.”

Junior left-hander Rafe Schlesinger (2-0) set the tone for the Hurricanes (6-4) from the first inning.

After the first two Gators (7-3) reached safely to start the game, the southpaw retired the next 11 batters, silencing the third base dugout.

“I’m very proud of our team, but especially Rafe,” J.D. Arteaga said. “Starting the game with a leadoff double and walk, he could’ve easily imploded and gotten them off to a really good start. He showed a ton of maturity getting some big strikeouts early and the double play ball. Then, he really settled in after that. It was a great job of setting the tone.”

In the bottom of the first, Torres clubbed a three-run homer, leaving the yard for the fourth straight game. Junior outfielder Edgardo Villegas followed with a two-run blast in the second, padding Miami’s early advantage.

Schlesinger limited the potent Florida lineup to three runs across 6 1/3 frames, matching a career-high nine strikeouts.

“This is a series you circle on the calendar,” Schlesinger said. “Being a part of this rivalry is something I’ve looked forward to since I’ve committed here. I went out there and just took it one pitch at a time. I tried to do my best and today turned out to be a good one.”

Schlesinger’s lone blemish was a three-run dinger by third baseman Dale Thomas in the fifth, but the Hurricanes’ offense had their starters back.

In the seventh, sophomore designated hitter Blake Cyr delivered a sacrifice fly to put the Canes back up, 6-3.

Four pitches later, freshman standout Daniel Cuvet made his impact felt.

Cuvet continued his scorching hot start, smacking a three-run shot to straight away center to cap off the four-run frame.

The Gators clawed back with three tallies in the eighth, but rookie shortstop Antonio Jimenez tacked on another insurance run in the bottom half before fellow freshman Nick Robert (1) slammed the door for his first career save.

Robert, who entered with runners on the corners, recorded the final five outs to cap off the victory.

Miami will look to take the rivalry series over the Gators Sunday. The rubber match is set for 1 p.m. at Mark Light Field.

“The crowd was electric,” Torres said. “We felt the fans there. These past two games have been the most fun I’ve had playing baseball. We need that tomorrow too.”

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