Despite the top of the order going a combined 2-for-10, center fielder Blake Tekotte’s two-RBI single in the seventh inning extended top-seeded Miami’s lead to three as the Canes didn’t look back and took game two of the Coral Gables Regional 7-4 against Bethune-Cookman.
Wildcat starter Hiram Burgos, who held the second-smallest ERA at 1.20 before Friday’s game, lasted only five innings and gave up four runs in a no decision for the Wildcats (36-21). Enrique Garcia went 5 2/3 and also gave up four runs before relinquishing the mound to reliever Kyle Bellamy (6-0), who went 2 1/3 scoreless innings before closer Carlos Gutierrez finished with his 12th save for the Canes (48-8).
“As you were saying, nice line drive right there to the gap,” Tekotte teased. “I was just trying to get something to happen, put it in play a little bit and it fell in; try to get a couple insurance runs.”
ACC tournament MVP Dave DiNatale went 2-for-2 with a walk and three runs scored while first baseman Yonder Alonso went 1-for-2 with three walks and a run.
Miami regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth when DiNatale singled and advanced on left fielder Adan Severino’s sacrifice bunt. Catcher Yasmani Grandal then singled to left where the outfield had trouble fielding the ball as not only did DiNatale score from second, but Grandal went to second on the third error of the game for BC.
Garcia faced trouble in the sixth with one out by giving up back-to-back singles to right to right fielder Neal Jones and third baseman Emmanuel Castro. After getting a key fly ball out to left to prevent the runners from tagging, the number eight hitter, Mark Brooks, tripled to right center field to tie the game at four. Bellamy came into the game to face left fielder Patrick Jones, who tried to drop a bunt past Bellamy who fielded it cleanly for the final out.
“I don’t think I’ve been as nervous all year as I was,” UM head coach Jim Morris confessed. “Those guys can run, they can play, they swing at first pitches and they’re very, very tough to pitch to.”
Every Cane went up to bat in the third inning, after Burgos pitched a perfect first two innings. DiNatale singled up the middle and Severino then followed with a single to center, which centerfielder Jose Ortiz bobbled to allow DiNatale to advance to third. The throw from the cut-off at short went into the Miami dugout, which allowed DiNatale to score and Severino to advance to third. The small ball continued when Grandal grounded out to the shortstop who was playing at normal depth. Tekotte doubled on a 3-2 pitch and went to third on a deep fly ball at the warning track in right field by second baseman Jemile Weeks. Alonso was then intentionally walked to bring third baseman Mark Sobolewski to the plate. He singled and brought home two runs. Shortstop Ryan Jackson got the final hit of the inning to put runners at the corners with two outs before right fielder Dennis Raben flied to left.
“I was just trying to get on base and work the count,” DiNatale said. “I was lucky enough the guy threw me some good pitches to hit where I got my singles and I laid off some good breaking balls.”
Neal Jones sparked the Wildcats’ offense with a single off the first pitch of the second inning to right field. After Jones stole his 14th base of the season, Castro worked a full count and walked to set up a successful sacrifice bunt by catcher Drew Clark to put two runners in scoring position with one out. Brooks then followed with an RBI ground out to Weeks. The last batter in the lineup, Jones, singled in another run to make the score 2-0. Lead-off hitter Jose Ortiz hit a ball that Raben trapped with his glove and picked up and threw to second to Jackson to tag Ortiz for the final out before Jones, trying to score from first, could cross the plate.
Miami plays tomorrow and will start ACC Freshman of the Year Chris Hernandez (11-0) against second seed Missouri (39-19) at 4 p.m. at Mark Light Field and following the noon game between Mississippi and Bethune-Cookman. All games are televised on ESPNU and broadcast on WVUM (90.5 FM) and WQAM (560 AM).
Christina De Nicola may be contacted at email@example.com.