Small-ball leads to three victories
The University of Miami baseball team improved its record to 7-2 this weekend against Tony Gwynn’s San Diego State Aztecs baseball squad at Mark Light Stadium. UM swept the series with a 6-3 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday’s game featured a pitching duel between UM sophomore Brandon Camardese and San Diego State’s Ben Coon. The first four innings of the contest were scoreless with the two teams combining for only three hits.
Junior first baseman Jim Burt started things off for the ‘Canes in the bottom of the fifth, by hitting the first pitch he saw from Coon off the scoreboard in left field.
Burt lit up the Aztecs all weekend long, going 7-10 against SDSU pitching. Burt was a major chunk of the Miami offense in each game, supplying power and more importantly, run support for the UM pitching staff.
” As the only senior on this team, I believe it is my responsibility to step up as a leader on this team,” Burt said.
UM and San Diego State each added a run in the sixth inning give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead. San Diego State third baseman Chad Corona, who replaced an injured Ryan Wilson earlier in the contest, tied the game in the top of the seventh with a solo shot to right field off UM reliever Shawn Valdez-Fauli.
After Valdez-Fauli gave up the home run to Corona and put two more runners on base, UM junior southpaw J.D. Cockroft came into the game and put out the fire by sitting down the next three Aztec hitters in order to kill the San Diego State rally. Cockroft picked up his second win of the season.
” JD’s performance today was huge in shutting down their offense,” head coach Jim Morris said.
Three weeks into the season, Morris has got to be pleased with what he has seen from his young team thus far.
“The single most reason we swept this series was pitching,” Morris said. “We had outstanding pitching all weekend long and combined with some timely hitting and we got ourselves three wins.”
When asked about coaching against former major leaguer Tony Gwynn, Morris just had one thing to say.
“It is just very fortunate that he was in the dugout and wasn’t able to step up to the plate,” Morris said. “He is one of the best.”
On Friday, the ‘Canes got things rolling with a 6-3 victory against the Aztecs.
The victory came despite the effort of San Diego State starting pitcher Mike Moat, who made life difficult for Miami hitters. The only thing able to stop him was his pitch count as he was pulled from the game due to fatigue.
After Moat’s departure, the ‘Canes lit up the San Diego bullpen for five runs in the inning.
UM starter Dan Touchet stayed perfect on the year, improving to 2-0 with the victory.
Miami continued their winning ways on Saturday when Jim Burt once again played hero, going 2-3 with a two-run homer to clinch the victory for the ‘Canes.
Miami pitching proved sufficient once again as sophomore starter Vince Bongiovanni improved his record to 2-1 on the year. Valdez-Fauli got his first save of the young season.
Next up for the ‘Canes will be an exhibition game against the major league Florida Marlins on Wednesday afternoon in Jupiter. The team returns to collegiate play next weekend with a three game series against The Citadel at Mark Light Stadium.
Ryan Ellis can be reached at email@example.com.