Through four innings Tuesday night at Mark Light Field, North Florida sophomore right-hander Jonathan Turner shut down No. 1-ranked Miami’s bats despite an ERA of 7.26 as the Ospreys got off to an early 1-0 lead.
After getting two quick outs in the fifth, however, junior second baseman Jemile Weeks doubled for the second time of the night and the 15th time this season to bring up junior first baseman Yonder Alonso who blasted his 16th home run deep to right field to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead, holding on to top the Ospreys, 5-2.
“Me or Blake getting on base, it’s going to set things up for the three, four or five hitters,” Weeks said. “I have so much confidence in every one of them and the rest of the lineup. Whoever’s behind me, I feel like they’re going to get the job done.”
Miami (42-6) welcomed North Florida (27-25) to Mark Light Field in the Hurricanes’ final mid-week game. Miami has done well in the mid-week affairs, finishing the regular season 12-2 in those games.
“We need to start swinging the bats better like we were. At one point we were absolutely hot,” head coach Jim Morris said. “Our bats need to get hot again because we need to score more runs. We played good defense, got some hits there late and scored some runs.”
Alonso finished 2-for-2 with his sixth home run in his last 10 games, two runs scored, two RBI and two walks.
“I was trying to stay back and I knew he wasn’t going to give in that easy,” Alonso said. “I was just looking for a pitch to make good contact on and I put a good swing on it.”
He was also involved in a bizarre play in which he scored from second base on a wild pitch in the seventh inning after junior right fielder Dennis Raben was issued a walk.
The Hurricanes scored three runs that inning, catalyzed by a leadoff triple off the bat of junior designated hitter Dave DiNatale who came home on a single by junior centerfielder Blake Tekotte.
In the ninth inning, North Florida brought the tying run to the plate in a 5-2 ballgame with junior right-hander Carlos Gutierrez on the mound having already given up a run on a single by reserve third baseman Sam Perry. He ended the game by retiring reserve catcher Michael Gropper on a ground ball.
“I think they have a good club, a good program. They play the game hard and the hitters are good,” Morris said. “They played good tonight.
The Canes now prepare for a key sold-out home ACC weekend showdown against the second-ranked Tar Heels, which begins on Thursday at 7 p.m. This will be Miami’s second 1-2 weekend series this year, as they took two-of-three from then-No. 2 Florida State last month.
“Miami and North Carolina, one and two, what else could you ask for?” Alonso said.
Christina De Nicola may be contacted at email@example.com.