It was a night of firsts for the University of Miami baseball team on Tuesday.
The Hurricanes won their first game of the 2005 season behind starter Cesar Carrillo and got significant contributions from two first-year players in a 7-0 victory over Florida International University in front of 3,197 people at Mark Light Field.
In the 108th meeting between the cross-town rivals, Carrillo, a pre-season All-American, made his first start of the season and first-year players Danny Valencia and Patrick Feeny put a stamp on their first career UM games.
Carrillo (1-0), a sophomore, was impressive early. He retired the first three batters in order throwing first pitch strikes to each.
“Cesar has great stuff and you expect him to win every time he goes out there,” Head Coach Jim Morris said. “I think we are 18-0 when he starts. I don’t want to say I’m a betting guy, but if I was, I’d probably bet on him.”
In the bottom half of the first, Paco Figueroa reached on a walk and moved to second when FIU starter Ammer Cabrera’s pick-off attempt got past first baseman Michael Lopez. Figueroa advanced to third on a Cabrera wild pitch and scored on Ryan Braun’s sacrifice fly giving the ‘Canes a 1-0 lead.
The score remained the same until the ‘Canes busted out for five runs in the bottom of the sixth. Figueroa led off the inning with a single to left. Braun followed and was hit by a pitch, advancing Figueroa to second. Left fielder John Jay laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third with one out. After right fielder Brendan Katin was intentionally walked to load the bases, FIU replaced Cabrera with right-hander Frank Gonzalez.
Gonzalez hit Tomas, scoring Figueroa from third and giving UM a 2-0 lead. Valencia, a UNC Greensboro transfer, followed with the first hit of his UM career, scoring Braun. After Alex Garabedian struck out, Morris brought in Feeny with the bases loaded and two out. Feeny, who was cut from the team last year, looped a single to center scoring two. Feeny’s first career hit gave the ‘Canes a 5-0 lead.
“It really helped to break the game open and I think we knocked them out of the game in that inning,” Feeny said. “It was big for me and a great experience, one I won’t forget.”
UM added its sixth run when Danny Figueroa, back after missing the entire 2004 season with shoulder and elbow injuries, singled to left.
Carrillo dominated FIU’s line-up for six strong innings, striking out six and giving up just two hits.
“I knew coming into Miami I was going to have a reputation to be undefeated,” Carrillo said. “I just want to go out there and show everyone I can pitch.”
After the game Morris said he was very pleased with his team’s effort.
“They have a good club,” he said, “and I thought we played well.”
Chris Hamilton can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.