After ranking third in the nation with 14 saves as a closer last season, third-year pitcher Carson Palmquist made his first start as a starting pitcher, and looked as solid as usual.
Through five innings pitched, Palmquist surrendered just one run – a solo home run – and struck out a career-high seven batters in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Towson Tigers.
The Canes (3-0) lit up the scoreboard to support the strong pitching and came away with a dominating 11-2 victory.
“It starts with the pitching. Carson did really well,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “His fastball just has a different look. This whole thing with spin rates and his angle from which he’s throwing the ball, and how it comes out, you see a lot of guys swing at pitches that might not be strikes. He’s a tough guy to hit and when you can throw different pitches, it makes it very difficult.”
Offensively, six different Hurricanes drove in runs. With only two of the same starters from last year’s lineup, there were plenty of new faces for Canes fans to cheer for.
True freshman second-baseman Dorian Gonzales Jr. launched a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning to give the Canes the early lead.
In the bottom of the third, first-baseman CJ Kayfus drove in center fielder Jacoby Long on a double to right field. Third baseman and preseason All-American Yohandy Morales drove in another run on a double of his own to push the lead to 3-0.
Towson eventually scored two runs in the top of the fifth and sixth innings on a home run and sacrifice fly.
But freshman Lorenzo Carrier managed to sneak a home run over the left field wall in the bottom of the sixth before the Canes scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Right fielder Jacob Burke, Gonzalez and Carrier recorded an RBI each in the inning.
And finally, in his first ever at-bat as a Hurricane, freshman pinch hitter Zach Levenson hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth.
“At the end, offensively, we finished the game,” DiMare said. “We hit better with runners in scoring position and had a lot of runs with two outs, which is something that is important with winning teams.”
A brief rain shower delayed the second game of the day, but the Canes came out just as strong offensively and won 13-2.
Starting pitcher Jake Garland surrendered the first run of the game in the top of the third inning. But in the bottom of the third inning, Kayfus and shortstop Dominic Pitelli drove in a run each before Kayfus scored on a wild pitch to take the lead 3-1.
Garland gave up his second run in the fourth inning, but went on to finish the game with four hits, two runs and a career-high eight strikeouts through six innings.
From the fourth inning on, it was all Miami.
Long drove in a run on a sac fly, Kayfus was hit by a pitch to score a run and a Carrier crossed home plate for a total of three runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Morales hit his first homer of the season – a solo shot – in the bottom of the fifth.
Catcher Maxwell Romero grounded out, but drove in Pitelli in the bottom of the seventh.
Five scored runs in the bottom of the eighth capped off the night for the Hurricanes, who will return to Mark Light Field tomorrow at 1 p.m. to face Towson in the series finale. Sophomore Alex McFarlane will be on the mound for the Canes.