The ‘Canes and Gators tend to have exciting games on the diamond. This year was no different.
On Friday night, the second-ranked Hurricanes scored three runs in the top of the ninth to defeat the 15th-ranked Gators 9-7.
In a game that featured seven lead changes or ties, Miami had the last word. Trailing 7-6 heading into the ninth, the comeback burden rested on the strength of the ‘Cane lineup. Junior third baseman Ryan Braun smacked a one-out single off Conner Falkenbach for his third hit of the game.
Left fielder Jon Jay drove Braun home with his third game-tying RBI of the night with a triple to right center to tie the game at 7-7.
Sophomore transfer Danny Valencia followed Jay with a bunt down the first base line that drew in UF first baseman Matt LaPorta. LaPorta fielded the ball but his throw home wasn’t fast enough to catch Jay as he slid across home plate for the game-winning run. Jay finished the night 3-for-4 from the plate with a double, triple and four RBIs. The top of the Miami order (Danny and Paco Figueroa, Braun and Jay) was a combined 11-of-18 hitting with seven runs and five RBI. All nine batters in the Miami lineup collected hits for the Hurricanes.
Saturday wasn’t as sweet for the team. Miami lost a 2-1 heartbreaker in the bottom of the 11th inning. Miami’s eight-game winning streak to open the season was snapped while the Gators ended a five-game losing streak to the ‘Canes. UF catcher Brian Jeroloman hit a two-out, bases loaded fly ball off UM reliever Brandon Camardese to shallow left field that was dropped by leftfielder Jay, allowing Adam Davis to score the game-winning run.
The Hurricanes trailed, 1-0, entering the top half of the ninth before consecutive one-out singles by Paco Figueroa and Braun, and an RBI single by Jay tied the game at 1-1.
Miami starting pitcher Dan Touchet allowed one run on six hits in seven innings of work in the no-decision. The game-winning run was charged to Orta, who picked up his first loss of the season.
On Sunday the ‘Canes lost 14-11, clinching their first series loss of the season and dropping to 8-2 overall. Starting pitcher Chris Perez only lasted one-third of an inning in the loss.
Miami returns to action this weekend in a series against George Washington at Mark Light Field.
Douglas C. Kroll can be contacted at email@example.com.