It wouldn’t be a Miami Hurricanes rivalry weekend if a three-game series didn’t go to the final game.
The No. 8-ranked Canes traveled to Gainesville to take on the No. 6-ranked Florida Gators in the continuation of an epic battle between two Florida baseball powerhouses. The Florida Gators took the series 2-1.
Against their first ranked opponent of the season, the Hurricanes (5-3) hung tough against University of Florida (UF) after a tough road loss to Florida Atlantic University (FAU) earlier in the week. In the three-game series, Miami fell in the heartbreaking opener, 4-3, after a walk-off single with two outs in the ninth by Florida’s Buddy Reed.
Both Miami’s and Florida’s top pitchers were injured during the game, which led to a slow start on offense for both teams.
Junior David Thompson carried the Hurricanes’ offense; he batted 2-for-4, including an RBI single and a run, and now leads the team with nine runs and seven RBIs.
On Saturday, the Hurricanes bounced back hot. Sophomore Zack Collins blasted a three-run homer, his first of the season, and led the team to pick up a decisive 7-2 win.
Miami scored in four of the first five innings of the game, giving junior left-hander Thomas Woodrey plenty of room to work with. Woodrey improved to a career-high 10-0 in his three seasons at UM, allowing just five hits over six 2/3 innings.
“I thought the run support early in the game was huge,” Woodrey said. “Having the big lead we did early on really allowed me to throw strikes and let my defense make plays for me.”
On Sunday, Miami took an early lead when junior George Iskenderian scored on a passed ball by Florida’s catcher. UF responded quickly with two RBIs in the third and fourth innings.
Right-hander Enrique Sosa and Florida’s Danny Young duked out three innings of no runs for either team. Florida held off miami for the remainder of the game, winning 2-1.
In the long history of these teams, Miami is 126-110 against Florida but 46-68 at Alfred McKethan Stadium. In the last two meetings, the Hurricanes and Gators split both series’ 2-1 and escaped with one series win apiece.
With ACC play still weeks away, the Hurricanes have to keep momentum strong in out-of-conference contests. Two weeks of unranked opponents should give Miami the confidence it needs to take on conference matchups.
“You have to relax and play. This is a tough place for us to play, no question about it,” head coach Jim Morris told Hurricanesports.com. “They have a great program, they’ve played well lately. It’s a big rivalry for a long time.”
The Hurricanes return home from a four-game road stretch and will take on Barry University at 6 p.m. Wednesday.