Through 10 innings of baseball Tuesday night, the newly-ranked No. 1 team in college baseball struggled offensively after a 47-minute rain delay.
Luckily, the Hurricanes (27-2) awoke from their slumber in the bottom half of the 11th, when left fielder Dave DiNatale sent the first pitch from Eagles pitcher J.J. Crumbley (5-1) over the left field wall for a towering two-run walk-off homer. Miami defeated Florida Gulf Coast (25-9), 4-2.
“I was just trying to get a good pitch, and he left a curveball up and made a mistake,” DiNatale said. “Right now I’m seeing the ball great and just took advantage of it and drove it through the outfield over the fence.”
In Miami’s 14th straight win, the Canes maintained their perfect 10-0 record in midweek games. It extended the squad’s best start under head coach Jim Morris, despite his ejection after the third inning by head umpire Manny Salazar for arguing after a disputed strikeout call.
Pitcher Carlos Gutierrez (1-1) picked up the win for the Canes, as he kept the Eagles scoreless through the last two innings. David Gutierrez started and threw five effective innings of five-hit, two-run ball with five strikeouts. P.J. Fisher pitched his best outing of the season with 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, before Kyle Bellamy entered for 1 1/3 innings to precede Carlos Gutierrez in the tenth.
“I think the big key today was Fisher,” pitching coach J.D. Arteaga said. “He hadn’t been throwing real well early on and he lost his job, and he did a great job today getting it to the two guys at the end of the game.”
For FGCU, Casey Coleman started the game and lasted two scoreless innings before the Eagles pulled him and used five other pitchers, who gave up a combined four runs on nine hits over 8 1/3 innings.
“They kept changing pitchers, and hitters can’t get comfortable with one guy,” Arteaga said. “It’s a tough situation for the hitters, and usually the second and third time around you start getting to guys.”
Third baseman Mark Sobolewski led off the bottom of the 11th with a 10 pitch at-bat, which ended in a single to left field. Shortstop Ryan Jackson then executed a successful sacrifice bunt to bring DiNatale up to the plate with Sobolewski at second. The home run was DiNatale’s fifth of the year and the third game-winning four-bagger in the last six games for the Hurricanes.
“[DiNatale] hitting in the seventh spot today did it again, and he’s been hot in the last ten games,” Arteaga said. “He came through with the big hit.”
Miami heads to Atlanta this weekend for a pivotal ACC road series against No. 10 Georgia Tech (2-7, 9-6).
Christina De Nicola may be contacted at email@example.com.
Canes fall to FAU, 6-1
Florida Atlantic University snapped Miami’s 14-game winning streak Wednesday, dominating the Canes at Mark Light Field, 6-3.
Michael Obradovich of FAU (19-11) went eight innings, giving up one run and leaving two baserunners who came around to score. Glen Troyanowski came in to close out the game.
A furious comeback by Miami (27-3) failed, as left fielder Dave DiNatale, who hit a game-winning home run the night before, struck out swinging with the bases loaded.