Baseball building momentum

The baseball team has come a long way since being swept at home by Florida two weeks ago, thanks to much-improved starting pitching.

With a series sweep of Indiana, the Hurricanes (12-6) have won six consecutive games.

In the first meeting between the two teams since 1974 on Friday night, UM ace Carlos Gutierrez tossed six shutout innings to pick up his ACC-leading fifth win of the season as the Hurricanes prevailed 4-0. Gutierrez (5-1) struck out six and gave up four hits, lowering his earned run average to 1.54.

Danny Gil and Chris Perez combined to strike out five batters in three innings of relief work. As a staff, Miami struck out 11 Hoosiers and relinquished five hits.

Indiana freshman Tyler Tufts took the loss, allowing three earned runs and nine hits in seven innings.

Eddy Rodriguez went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Dennis Raben hit his second career home run in the second inning. Junior third baseman Danny Valencia chipped in with a double and an RBI.

The Hurricanes accumulated all four of their runs in the opening four frames. Jemile Weeks and Jon Jay started the game with singles, and Valencia got UM on the board with a base hit, scoring Weeks.

Saturday starter Manny Miguelez followed Gutierrez’ gem with a memorable performance of his own, one-hitting the Hoosiers in a complete game 7-2 victory. Miguelez (3-1) struck out a career-high eight batters and threw only 97 pitches despite going the distance for the first time at UM. Josh Lewis suffered the loss for the Hoosiers.

The last Hurricane to one-hit an opponent was J.D. Cockroft, who beat Florida International 1-0 on May 31, 2003.

“This is the earliest in a season, since I have been here, that a pitcher has thrown a complete game,” Head Coach Jim Morris said. “We don’t have many complete games, which makes Manny’s performance even more impressive. He had great stuff all night.”

After giving up two runs in the first inning on a pair of RBI groundouts by Zach Boswell and Tad Reida, Miguelez retired the next 13 batters he faced.

“I threw my last off-speed pitch in the fourth inning,” Miguelez said. “It was all fastballs the rest of the way.”

Tommy Giles went 2-for-4 with two RBI and Raben added a run-scoring double for the Hurricanes.

Valencia was the offensive hero for the Hurricanes in a 6-4 win on Sunday afternoon, slugging a two-run home run and a ground-rule double to help Miami rally from a pair of two-run deficits.

“It would be nice to get more attention from the polls, but we have to keep winning games,” Valencia said. “If we do, we’ll be in the polls soon.”

Scott Maine picked up his second win of the season, tossing six innings, giving up one earned run on seven hits and a walk, striking out two. Perez struck out Jay Brant with runners on second and third in the ninth inning for his fourth save of the season.

Trailing 4-2 in the sixth, Miami responded with four runs. Walter Diaz gave the Hurricanes the lead with an RBI single and Weeks walked to knock in the final run.

Miami will take on Michigan State Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Mark Light Field.

Eric Kalis can be contacted at