It wasn’t always pretty, but the Miami Hurricanes clinched the series win with an 8-5 victory over Rutgers Feb. 17 at Mark Light Field.
Despite suffering an early 2-0 deficit, the Canes poured in seven runs in the third inning to build a lead from which the Scarlet Knights could not recover.
This comes after a 7-1 season-opening win for Miami against Rutgers Feb. 16.
Hurricanes (2-0) starting pitcher Greg Veliz lasted just three innings in an inconsistent outing. He struck out five batters but also walked five, which led to two runs scored.
But UM came back strong in the bottom of the third inning with back-to-back RBI singles from Romy Gonzalez and Michael Burns that led to three runs, and then freshman first baseman Alex Toral hit a three-run homer to right field. Michael Amditis would hit an RBI-double to end the inning with seven runs scored.
Toral’s home run would be the first hit of his career.
Offensively, Reyes led the Hurricanes, hitting 3 of 4 with a run, three RBI and two doubles. Toral finished 2 of 3 with a walk.
But pitching and defensive struggles were evident later in the game.
The Feb. 17 bullpen appearances consisted of Cooper Hammond for 1 1/3 innings, Jeremy Cook for one inning and both Frankie Bartow and Andrew Cabezas for 1 1/3 innings.
Cook threw a wild pitch to give Rutgers (0-2) a run in the sixth, while a sacrifice fly gave the Scarlet Knights another run. This would lead to the end of the night for Cook, and Miami coach Jim Morris replaced him with Bartow soon after.
The bullpen had its difficulties, giving up three runs between the fifth and sixth innings, but it did its job, allowing none in the final three.
The Hurricanes had issues with runners left on base through the first two innings. In the first inning, Tony Jenkins was thrown out at second base while attempting to steal.
Reyes opened the second inning with a stand-up double and advanced to third base on a fielder’s choice. But a strikeout by Toral and a Raymond Gill groundout ended the inning scoreless.
Miami would add to its lead in the fifth inning, when Jenkins’ single drove in Toral to give the Hurricanes their eighth and final run.
After the Hurricanes’ series finale against the Scarlett Knights on Feb. 17, the Missouri Tigers come to Coral Gables Feb. 21 for a single game before Miami hosts Florida next weekend.