Gators cruise to 11-3 victory over Hurricanes in rubber match

Sophomore catcher Carlos Perez strikes out in the bottom of the second inning of Miami’s game versus Florida at Mark Light Field on March 6, 2022.
Sophomore catcher Carlos Perez strikes out in the bottom of the second inning of Miami’s game versus Florida at Mark Light Field on March 6, 2022.

The Miami Hurricanes had little response as they were handily beaten by their in-state rival Florida Gators (10-3) at Mark Light Field Sunday afternoon. The matchup was the final game of a three-day weekend series, in which Florida won two out of three contests.

The Gators’ pitching duo of starter Timmy Manning and reliever Blake Purnell allowed just eight baserunners and one run through eight combined innings of work, leading the visitors to a resounding 11-3 victory.

“I feel like all their pitchers this weekend just came out and attacked the zone,” Miami outfielder Jacob Burke said. “They had good stuff, but I think we’re capable of a lot more and we didn’t really show that this weekend.”

On the other side, Miami sophomore starter Jake Garland did not have similar success to the Gators’ pitchers. It took just a few minutes for Florida to see a runner cross home plate, as leadoff man Colby Halter reached base and then scored immediately following a double down the left field line from center fielder Jud Fabian.

Sophomore pitcher Jake Garland pitches at the top of the third inning of Miami’s game versus Florida at Mark Light Field on March 6, 2022.
Sophomore pitcher Jake Garland pitches at the top of the third inning of Miami’s game versus Florida at Mark Light Field on March 6, 2022.

The expeditious score was a sign of things to come. The Gators added two more runs in the first and continued to expand their lead from there.

Garland exited the game in the third inning with one out and two men on base. Redshirt sophomore reliever Jordan Dubberly was able to retire the side, but not before Fabian came around to score his second run and shoo Garland with four earned runs.

In the bottom of the third, Miami (8-3) answered with a lone run of its own. Sophomore shortstop Dominic Pitelli scored off of Burke’s two-out single.

Miami’s leading slugger in sophomore third baseman Yohandy Morales was next into the box as the Hurricanes’ fans sensed an opportunity to gain momentum with runners on first and third base.

It wasn’t to be though, as Morales grounded into a fielders’ choice which closed the inning at 4-1 in favor of Florida (10-3).

Sophomore infielder Yohandy Morales hits a ground ball to the shortstop, who threw to second for the third out in the bottom of the third inning of Miami’s game versus Florida at Mark Light Field on March 6, 2022.
Sophomore infielder Yohandy Morales hits a ground ball to the shortstop, who threw to second for the third out in the bottom of the third inning of Miami’s game versus Florida at Mark Light Field on March 6, 2022.

Morales’ opportunity ended up being the best one the Hurricanes would see all day, as UM’s hitters struggled to get on base until the game devolved into a blowout in a three-run top of the sixth.

“We fell behind there 7-1 and it felt like we weren’t giving very good at-bats,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said of his team’s efforts at the plate.

The inning began with a solo home run by Florida first baseman Kendrick Calilao off of Miami sophomore right-hander Alex McFarlane. Florida didn’t stop there, scoring two more runs after replacement pitchers Matt Raudelunas and Anthony Arguelles allowed three walks and a double collectively.

Junior pitcher Anthony Arguelles pitches at the top of the sixth inning of Miami’s game versus Florida at Mark Light Field on March 6, 2022.
Junior pitcher Anthony Arguelles pitches at the top of the sixth inning of Miami’s game versus Florida at Mark Light Field on March 6, 2022.

Control was an issue for the Hurricanes’ arms throughout the entire game, as the 14 walks allowed played a large role in the Gators’ 11 runs, and forced DiMare to utilize a robust 10 pitchers on the day.

“We gave them opportunities with the 14 free passes, you just can’t do that,” DiMare said. “The game just got away from us.”

Miami rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth, but at nothing more than consolation for the Hurricanes on a day that belonged to their rivals from upstate.

Next up for the Hurricanes is a short trip from Coral Gables into Miami, where they will look to bounce back from a disappointing weekend when they play the Florida International Panthers on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.