The Miami baseball team opened its season in a home-and-home series against Florida International. In the first game of the series Miami dismantled FIU 17-3, which marks the most opening day runs by the Hurricanes since 1996.
“It’s fun to watch those guys,” said UM Head Coach Jim Morris.
Including the starting pitcher, Carlos Gutierrez, making his first career start, Morris added six new players to the starting lineup. Morris was a bit tense about the newcomers before opening day.
“So many question marks had to be answered on this team,” Morris said.
Miami passed its first test with flying colors, hitting sharply and pitching well. Gutierrez took the mound and pitched five scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and two walks.
For UM to reach the College World Series this year, it is going to need a consistent No. 1 starter, and Gutierrez got off to an impressive start.
“I just look to go out there and do my best,” Gutierrez said. “And try to have the best outing I can.”
Two hitters stood out in the win as well: Jon Jay and Central Florida Community College transfer Tommy Giles. The duo drove in nine of Miami’s 17 runs. Jay went 2-for-2, scored two runs and hit the second grand slam in his career in the fifth inning to put the game completely out of reach, making the score 11-0. Three batters later, Giles made it 14-0 with a three run home run of his own. Giles had already driven in two runs, with a single to leftfield in the third inning.
“It was great to go out there and do that today,” Jay said. “Hopefully I will be able to get a few more [grand slams].”
In game two of the home-and-home, the Hurricanes visited the Golden Panthers at University Park and Manny Miguelez picked up where Gutierrez left off. Miguelez pitched a magnificent six innings of shutout baseball, allowing five hits and one walk along with five strikeouts in a 5-0 Hurricanes victory.
Miami (2-0) jumped out early, getting four straight hits to open the game, but Blake Tekotte and Danny Valencia were both picked off at first, limiting the ‘Canes to one run on Valencia’s single. Tekotte redeemed himself in the second inning hitting a two run home run to make the score 3-0. Valencia continued his hot hitting later in the inning by driving in Jay with an RBI single. Miami’s scoring was capped off by a Jemile Weeks sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Despite winning both games by a combined score of 22-3, Morris said the team can always get better.
“I still had a lineup card full of mistakes and things we need to improve on.”
Denis Brown can be contacted at email@example.com.