Walk it off! Canes win fifth straight against ranked FAU squad

Danny Garcia (No. 14) pitches in the game against FAU on Wednesday evening. The Canes won 4-3. Victoria McKaba // Staff Photographer
Danny Garcia (No. 14) pitches in the game against FAU on Wednesday evening. The Canes won 4-3. Victoria McKaba // Staff Photographer

In a thrilling Wednesday game against a ranked opponent, the 11th ranked Miami Hurricanes defeated the 21st ranked Florida Atlantic Owls on George Iskenderian’s 10th inning walk off base-hit at Mark Light Field.

“I just didn’t want Zack (Collins) to win it, so I had to get the hit there,” said Iskenderian, who was all smiles after the game. “But it was just like any other at bat, just trying to get the hit and drive someone in when the team needs you.”

Ricky Eusebio reached base on a one-out walk and moved over to third on Garret Kennedy’s single in the next at bat. That set the stage for Iskenderian.

The Owls brought in Seth McGarry in relief of Devon Carr (0-2) to face the sophomore right hander. It did not take long for Iskenderian to end it, lining a first pitch slider into left field to bring in Eusebio and send the 2,055 fans in attendance home happy.

The Owls struck first in the fifth inning against Canes starting pitcher Danny Garcia. With runners on first and second and one out, Brett Lashley roped a base-hit up the middle that scored CJ Chatam from second. Brendan Sanger immediately followed with a double down the left field line, bringing in Stephen Kerr and Lashley.

The Canes struck back in the bottom of the sixth against the Owls bullpen. Johnny Ruiz, pinch hitting for Brandon Lopez, led off the inning with a base-hit to left. After Carl Chester singled, Ricky Eusebio reached on a fielders choice.

A throwing error on the play by Chatam brought Lopez in to score form second. Garret Kennedy followed with an RBI double and eventually scored on Zack Collins’ single to right.

The Canes were able to pull off the win despite stranding 14 runners on base, opposed to five for the Owls, a fact that did not get by head coach Jim Morris.

“It was a good game throughout, but we left too many guys on base early,” said Morris. “Luckily we battled back and got some big hits.”

Garcia started the game for the Canes, lasting 5 1/3 innings before giving way to the bullpen, which held the Owls (26-7, 9-3 CUSA) to one hit in four innings, striking out seven.

“I thought he threw good,” said Morris of Garcia’s performance. “I thought he could have thrown better.

“I thought this would be his toughest start of the year,” he continued. “The fact that he was pitching against them having a very good year. [The Owls] are hot and they are ranked, so I thought this was a big start for him.”

The Canes (25-9, 11-4) stretched their winning streak to five games and improved to 18-2 on the year at home. This weekend they welcome the Virginia Tech Hokies in an ACC Coastal matchup. The Canes lead the Hokies in the Coastal by four games.