‘Canes hammer distinguished alumni

The University of Miami baseball team kicked off its 2005 season with an explosive 14-0 defeat of the alumni in front of 1,518 fans Saturday night at Mark Light Field.

The game represented a throwback to tradition with close to 50 former Hurricanes, including such greats as current Cleveland Indian Alex Cora (1994-1996) as well as Tampa Bay Devil Ray Aubrey Huff (1997-1998). With an impressive offensive performance, the game also marked the tradition of excellence that has come to be expected out of Miami’s squads.

The performance is even more impressive when you take the time to appreciate the talent fielded by the alumni team, consisting of some of the best players ever to put on a Hurricane uniform. After the game, Hurricanes Head Coach Jim Morris was quite pleased with the outcome, but said nothing to take away from the alumni team

“This is a great game for us,” Morris said. “It is always great to play against all the former players who return. These guys we play against are not just alumni but very good players. The game will help us prepare for FIU on Tuesday.”

The Hurricanes, however, fielded an impressive lineup of their own, consisting of Danny Figueroa (CF), Paco Figueroa (2B/OF), Ryan Braun (SS/3B), Jon Jay (OF), Brendan Katin (OF/C), Roger Thomas (2B), Danny Valencia (1B/SS), Gaby Sanchez (3B/OF), Eddy Rodriguez (C) and Dan Touchet, the starting pitcher.

Danny Figueroa had a particularly big night, leading the Hurricanes with five RBIs and a 3-for-4 performance at the plate.

In the first inning, Braun homered to centerfield to put Miami up 2-0. It was a lead that the Hurricanes would never concede. The ‘Canes didn’t yield much to the alumni offensively, as the defense displayed a business-like approach throughout the game, even if it was an informal exhibition.

The fifth inning was where the Hurricanes did most of their damage. First baseman Valencia singled to right field, scoring Jay, who lead off the inning with a walk and Katin, who reached base on a single. A two-run homerun over the left field fence by Danny Figueroa put the Hurricanes up 11-0, with Alex Garabedian scoring after reaching base on a fielder’s choice.

Morris emphasized the play of his defense.

“I thought we played really well,” he said. “We played outstanding defense, and the one error we made was a really tough call to make. It had to have been an unbelievable play by Roger Tomas.”

Morris gave credit to the all-around play of his team.

“Our pitchers threw strikes, and we got some big hits with two outs,” he said. “This is the type of game we’re going to have to play [running and stealing bases]. It’s a good game for us for many, many reasons.”

Morris said he’s looking forward to opening up the regular season against cross-town rival FIU Tuesday night at Mark Light Field.

“They play us like it’s the World Series every time.”

Michael Soto can be contacted at m.soto3@umiami.edu.