Top-ranked Miami baseball falls 4-3 to Florida Atlantic

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Junior outfielder Willie Abreu (13) finishes his swing at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field Wednesday night. The Canes lost 4-3 against FAU. Giancarlo Falconi // Staff Photographer

Junior outfielder Willie Abreu (13) finishes his swing at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field Wednesday night. The Canes lost 4-3 against FAU. Giancarlo Falconi // Staff Photographer

The Hurricanes’ reign as the top team in the land could be over after falling to No. 21 Florida Atlantic University Wednesday evening at Mark Light Field. The Canes only recorded five hits in their 4-3 loss.

“We just weren’t able to get that big hit,” junior right fielder Willie Abreu said.

Centerfielder Billy Endris was the first FAU Owl to reach base, when right-handed sophomore Lepore walked him. Endris was able to give the Owls a 1-0 lead after he tagged up before heading to home plate on Christian Dicks’s sacrifice pop fly.

The Canes (29-6) were able to tie the score in the bottom of the inning. Sophomore leadoff batter Carl Chester was in scoring position after walking to first and stealing second. Junior catcher Zack Collins reached base for the 30th-consecutive game with a single to right field, bringing Chester home in the process.

The third inning started with the Owl’s top of the order, and second baseman Stephen Kerr knocked a solo homerun to left field to give the Owls a 2-1 lead.

Junior right fielder Willie Abreu brought Miami even in the fourth inning after stealing second and then coming home on a wild pitch.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Andrew Cabezas took over the mound to start the seventh inning for the Canes after right-handed sophomore Jesse Lepore gave up two runs in six innings.

Freshman right-hander Frankie Bartow took over for Cabezas partway through the eighth inning after Cabezas gave up two free bases, walking one batter and hitting another. Bartow couldn’t stop the damage, as two runners scored to give FAU a 4-2 lead.

The Canes responded in the bottom of the eighth with one run from Chester. The second-year center fielder opened the inning walking for the second time. A pitch then hit junior second baseman Johnny Ruiz, giving the Canes two runners on base. Collins and junior left fielder Jacob Heyward both struck out before a single from senior shortstop Brandon Lopez brought home Chester.

Junior closer Bryan Garcia held the Owls (27-8) scoreless in the top of the ninth, giving the Canes a chance to comeback.

However, Miami wasn’t able to muster a single hit in the ninth, handing Cabezas his first career loss.

“FAU played better than us, and they deserved to win,” Miami Head Coach Jim Morris said. “They got big hits when they needed them, and we didn’t. That was the difference in the game.”

The Canes were without redshirt junior first basemen Christopher Barr, who suffered an injury earlier this week. He was replaced at first base by sophomore Peter Crocitto.

The Canes will next be in action when they start a weekend series against defending national champion Virginia at 7 p.m. on Friday at Mark Light Field.

 

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