Gators chomped: Miami powers past Florida to take first game of series

Sophomore third baseman Yohandy Morales celebrates as he crosses home plate after hitting a homerun in Miami's win over Florida on Friday, March 4, 2022 at Mark Light Field.
Sophomore third baseman Yohandy Morales celebrates as he crosses home plate after hitting a homerun in Miami's win over Florida on Friday, March 4, 2022 at Mark Light Field. Photo credit: Josh Halper

The “left, right, left, right, sientate!” chants sounded a little louder, a little more meaningful and definitely more pointed Friday night at Mark Light Field.

With the Florida Gators behind the plate and Carson Palmquist on the mound, Miami’s sophomore pitcher fanned six batters through five innings while giving up three hits and no runs.

Palmquist and sophomore third-baseman Yohandy Morales, who hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth inning that sparked the offense, led Miami (8-1) to a 5-2 win over Florida (8-3) to take the first game of the home series for the first time since 2014.

“I was just trying to go out there and do whatever I could to get on base,” said Morales, who finished the game with two hits in four at bats, three RBIs, a double and home run.

Sophomore starting pitcher Carson Palmquist throws a pitch during the third inning of Miami's 5-2 win over Florida on Friday, March 4, 2022 at Mark Light Field. In five innings pitched Palmquist registered six strikeouts and allowed only three hits.
Sophomore starting pitcher Carson Palmquist throws a pitch during the third inning of Miami's 5-2 win over Florida on Friday, March 4, 2022 at Mark Light Field. In five innings pitched, Palmquist registered six strikeouts and allowed only three hits. Photo credit: Josh Halper

“It’s amazing, it’s an amazing feeling,” Palmquist said after the game. “As soon as Yoyo hit the home run I knew that the game was over with.”

Although Palmquist allowed no runs in what was his first Friday night start, Miami head coach Gino DiMare hoped he could have gone more innings than just six.

“I would like to see him go six, even seven but they extended the innings on him,” DiMare said. “All in all very happy with how he threw. Friday night guy, you gotta be able to throw six or seven innings.”

After Morales’ two runs, first baseman CJ Kayfus continued the offensive outburst for Miami in the bottom of the fifth inning when his bunt allowed Dominic Pitelli to score on a diving slide through home plate. Then sophomore Jacob Burke, who went 2-4, scored on Morales’ double that pushed Miami’s lead to 4-0.

The Gators finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the seventh on RBIs from Sterlin Thompson and Wyatt Langford.

Sophomore outfielder Jacob Burke sprints around the bases to score a run for Miami in their 5-2 win over Florida on Friday, March 4, 2022 at Mark Light Field.
Sophomore outfielder Jacob Burke sprints around the bases to score a run for Miami in its 5-2 win over Florida on Friday, March 4, 2022 at Mark Light Field. Photo credit: Josh Halper

But steady pitching from closer Andrew Walters shut the Gators down and they did not score again.

Burke gave Miami its fifth and final run on an RBI in the bottom of the seventh.

The raucous crowd of 3,482 fans certainly helped the Hurricanes maintain offensive momentum late in the game.

“It’s so nice to have the crowd back, it’s been a long time,” DiMare said. ” Our ballpark makes a lot of noise because the people are right on the field, its a unique situation, a unique set-up. Great energy and I can’t put a value on it, but I know it benefits us a lot. I’m sure glad we are playing in our ballpark.”

First-pitch of the second game of the series is 6 p.m. tomorrow and the final game is Sunday at 12 p.m. Freshman Karson Ligon will be on the mound for the Hurricanes Saturday night.

Freshman pitcher Gage Ziehl throws a pitch during the sixth inning of Miami's win over Florida on Friday, March 4, 2022 at Mark Light Field.
Freshman pitcher Gage Ziehl throws a pitch during the sixth inning of Miami's win over Florida on Friday, March 4, 2022 at Mark Light Field. Photo credit: Josh Halper