The baseball team battered the LaSalle Explorers 17-0 on Saturday night and held off Florida International University 9-7 on Friday night to win both of its games in the Papa John’s Homestead Challenge this weekend.
Hurricane starter Brandon Camardese improved to 2-0 on the year, giving up just three hits in five innings of work.
After some questionable defense over the past few games, Miami gloves were able to shake off the cobwebs and record their first shutout of the season.
UM outfielder and junior college transfer Brendan Katin had a breakout weekend for the ‘Canes. Katin slugged two home runs on the weekend, including a grand slam on Saturday night to give him seven runs batted in on the season.
“This was big,” Katin said. “I was 0 for 3 and just looking to get a hit. He left the ball kind of where I like it and it went.”
First baseman Jim Burt also had a big night on Saturday, driving in five runs on four hits as Miami bats exploded against LaSalle.
“We have been talking a lot about the importance of getting hot and starting up a streak,” Head Coach Jim Morris said.
In the victory, reliever George Huguet made his first appearance of the season after sitting out a few weeks with pneumonia. Huguet’s presence should help to bolster a recently thin bullpen.
Prior to the Homestead Challenge, the Hurricanes traveled to FIU to take on the Golden Panthers in their first road game of the season. The ‘Canes fell 11-7 despite a Burt grand slam.
“We didn’t play well Thursday night and even though we had a shot at winning, we didn’t get good pitching and defense, and you are not going to win a lot of games like that,” Morris said.
In the loss, left-hander J.D. Cockroft fell to 0-2 on the season, only lasting 2.1 innings.
A ninth inning rally, including an RBI single from third baseman Gaby Sanchez, came up short as FIU took the victory.
The Hurricanes have not swept a weekend yet this season.
On Saturday night the ‘Canes got their revenge in the first game of the Homestead Challenge, outlasting FIU on a cool night at the Homestead Sports Complex.
Miami bats produced nine runs and the bullpen held on as reliever Cesar Carrillo closed the door on the Golden Panthers. Carrillo has served as the ‘Canes closer in the absence of Huguet and Shawn Valdes-Fauli.
Carrillo said the surprisingly brisk weather was not a factor during the game.
“It didn’t really bother me,” Carrillo said. “I’m from Chicago; this is nothing new to me.”
In addition to Katin’s first career home run, catcher Erick San Pedro hit his fourth home run of the season when he knocked a three-run shot out of the park in deep left-center field.
“This is a lot of fun to play against these guys,” San Pedro said. “A lot of us on both teams are from South Florida and we grew up playing each other. Some of these guys lived right down the street from me.”
The 2-1 record this weekend puts the ‘Canes at 6-3 (not including Sunday night’s game against Minnesota) on the year entering a three-game series against Elon next weekend. The North Carolina school is the alma mater of Morris. Game times are set for 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Mark Light Field.
Ryan Ellis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.