Hurricanes mount epic comeback in 13-inning thrilling victory over Gators

The Gators beat the Hurricanes 7-5 in Game 1 of their three game opening series at McKethan Field at the new Florida Ballpark in Gainesville, Florida, Friday, February 19, 2021. [Cyndi Chambers/Correrspondent Gainesville Sun] 2021

Whoever says baseball is boring clearly hasn’t watched the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida Gators square off.

In just the second game of the season, a 13-inning thriller ended in a 10-9 victory for Miami over the nation’s top-ranked team.

The Gators entered the ninth inning with a three-run lead, but Florida pitcher Franco Aleman walked in three runs, allowing the game to tie at 8-8 and head to extra innings.

After a scoreless 10th, 11th and 12th inning, Christian Del Castillo and Ben Wanger walked to start the 13th inning before Raymond Gil, pinch-hitting, hit an RBI single to break the tie and put the Hurricanes ahead 9-8. The second run of the inning came on a fielding error by Florida first baseman Kris Armstrong.

Despite allowing a run in the bottom of the 13th, graduate transfer Wanger was able to close out the game and secure the win. Wanger, making his first start for Miami, finished with a 4.50 ERA through two innings pitched, one earned run and two hits.

The Gators jumped out to an early lead in the first inning after scoring five runs off freshman right-handed pitcher Alejandro Rosario, who also made his first start as a Miami Hurricane and finished with four innings pitched, five runs – two earned – six hits and a 4.50 ERA. Three of the runs went unearned though because Miami committed two crucial fielding errors in the first.

Miami’s Tony Jenkins hit an RBI single in the second to give Miami its first run of the game. A quiet third and fourth inning gave way to two runs apiece in the fifth. Anthony Vilar hit an RBI double to score Jordan Lala and Adrian Del Castillo doubled to score Anthony Vilar to put the Canes up 5-3, but Florida countered in the bottom of the fifth on a pair of RBI doubles from Armstrong and Josh Rivera.

Florida hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth before the Hurricanes scored five unanswered runs until the 13th inning. Adrian Del Castillo hit an RBI in the seventh, Jenkins hit another RBI in the eighth and the three walked-in runs in the ninth forced extra innings.

Right-handed relief pitcher Anthony Arguelles pitched lights out in the seventh inning as did lefty Carson Palmquist in the ninth, 10th and 11th inning. Arguelles threw 20 pitches in one inning and gave up one hit and no runs while Palmquist pitched three innings with a 0.00 ERA with four strikeouts and one hit allowed.

The win broke Florida’s streak of six consecutive wins over Miami.

The Hurricanes will have a chance to win the series in the final game Sunday at 1 p.m. Freshmen Victor Mederos will be starting on the mound for the Hurricanes opposite Gators left-handed pitcher Hunter Barco. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network+.