Stopping the Spartans

Tied 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth, the University of Miami exploded for five runs en route to a 9-4 victory over Michigan State Wednesday night at Mark Light Field.

Jon Jay hit his third home run of the year, a solo shot to left field, to lead the Hurricanes (13-6) to their seventh straight regular season win. Eddy Rodriguez finished 2-for-4 with two runs batted in.

Andrew Lane (1-0) recorded his first victory of the season, tossing 1.2 innings out of the bullpen. Craig Brookes (0-1) suffered the loss for the Spartans (3-5), who fell for the first time since landing in Florida for a seven-game road trip.

Despite the win, UM Head Coach Jim Morris said his team’s performance left much to be desired.

“We are still making too many mistakes, especially on the base paths,” Morris said. “There were some defensive mistakes too that we have to work through. The ACC is the best conference in the country, so we have to get better.”

The Hurricanes fell behind 1-0 in the first when E.J. Daws scored on a passed ball by Rodriguez.

Blake Tekotte tied the score in the bottom half with some heady base running. Jay ripped a single but got into a rundown between first and second base. As Jay was tagged out, Tekotte raced for the plate, easily beating the throw home.

Michigan State seemed on the verge of a big fourth inning, but Orta worked his way out of a first-and-third, no-out jam. Kyle Day was thrown out trying to score on Sean Walker’s ground ball, Oliver Wolcott popped out and Steve Gerstenberger struck out swinging to end the frame.

The Hurricanes took their first lead in the bottom of the fourth. Dennis Raben came through with a two-out single off the right field wall, knocking in Alonso from first base. Rodriguez hit a double for a 3-1 Miami lead.

The Spartans battled back in the fifth against reliever Raudel Alfonso. Daws tripled home Troy Krider and Ryan Basham made it 3-3 with a sacrifice fly.

That’s when Jay made his mark on the evening with a lead-off opposite-field homer in the sixth.

“I got a pretty good pitch to hit,” Jay said. “Hopefully I can get a few more balls out of the park before the season’s done.”

Rodriguez drove in another run with a base hit to knock Brookes out of the game, but the Hurricanes added three more runs off relievers Chris Toepper and Matt Trousch.

Tekotte bunted home Miami’s final run of the night in the eighth inning.

Danny Gil and Jon McLean held the Spartans scoreless over the final 2.1 innings to seal the victory.

Eric Kalis can be contacted at