Baseball

Canes finish sweep of Gators in Gainesville

Miami head coach Jim Morris pointed to a disturbing stat on Wednesday’s media day before his 10th-ranked team headed to Gainesville to face the 12th-ranked Gators:

Since 2006, the Hurricanes had lost six of nine to their in-state rivals. Luckily for him most of the players on this year’s club weren’t around yet, and helped stop the skid.

Senior right fielder Dave DiNatale went four for six with three RBIs as the Canes (6-1) broke open a scoreless game with a seven-run fourth to beat the Gators, 16-2, and earn the series sweep at McKethan Stadium.

DiNatale bumped his batting average to a team-high .435 as Miami accounted for 20 hits as a team, the most since 2004 when the Hurricanes collected 26.

Freshman center fielder Nathan Melendres and junior third baseman Chris Herrmann also collected three RBI each. Hermann and freshman first baseman Harold Martinez both homered for the first time as Canes.

“We knew coming up here it wasn’t going to be easy, but we played team ball and got the job done,” DiNatale said. “Our starters put us in a position to win every game and that’s all you can ask for. It’s big for us to bring these three wins back to Coral Gables.”

Sophomore left-hander Iden Nazario (2-0) pitched five innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts before freshman righty Travis Miller and senior right-hander Jason Santana combined for four scoreless innings of relief.

For the three-game set, the Hurricanes hit .364, while the Gators hit just .221. UM’s pitching staff had a 2.33 ERA.

“Sweeping Florida in Gainesville is no easy task. Our guys came out focused and prepared all three days and it showed,” Morris said. “Overall, it was definitely a big weekend for our young team.”

On Saturday, junior shortstop Ryan Jackson finished two for four and drove in a run in both the third and fifth innings as Miami defeated Florida 2-1 for Morris’ 700th career victory at UM.

Starting pitcher David Gutierrez (1-0) pitched a career-high seven scoreless innings for the Hurricanes and junior righty Taylor Wulf added another in relief. Junior closer Kyle Bellamy allowed an unearned run and stranded the tying runner on third in the ninth for his third save of the season.

“It was a great game to watch,” Morris said. “Of course, we made it close in the ninth with an error, but I thought our guys showed a lot.”

The Hurricanes clinched their second straight series against the Gators, but the first in Gainesville since 1991, before Morris arrived at the helm of the program in 1994.

Jackson, a preseason All-American, drove in senior left fielder Jonathan Weislow for both runs.

Weislow, who had been scarcely used at Miami until earning the starting job this season, hit two home runs – the first of his collegiate career – for five RBIs as the Canes beat UF 8-5 on Friday night.

“It’s about time,” Weislow said. “That first one buzzed over the fence. I didn’t know it was gone until I saw the umpire waving his hand. I knew that second [one]was gone when I hit it. That was a good feeling.”

Sophomore All-American Chris Hernandez (2-0) gave up four earned runs over five innings and remained a flawless 13-0 for his career. Freshman left-hander Daniel Miranda and Bellamy combined on four innings of one-run ball in relief.

Miami returns home to face Rhode Island (3-2) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.

March 1, 2009

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Christina De Nicola

Editor In Chief


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