Canes score 10 runs in third inning, cruise for fifth straight win

Junior catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. celebrates with teammates after a three-run home run.
Junior catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. celebrates with teammates after a three-run home run. Photo credit: UM Athletics

After a 3-2 victory in a 14-inning game on Sunday, the Miami Hurricanes’ offense returned to life on the other side of the state of Florida.

The No. 17 Hurricanes took down the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles on Wednesday night at Swanson Stadium 11-7.

“We put together a lot of good hits together and put a lot of pressure on them,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said. “We hit some balls hard and took advantage of their defensive miscues in that inning.”

In the first inning, baserunning errors and mishaps slowed the team down as sophomore first baseman CJ Kayfus’ leadoff double was offset when he tried to take third base and was tagged out.

FGCU then got out to a fast start, scoring a pair of runs off sophomore starter Jake Garland when Harrison Povey hit a two-run single.

The Hurricanes (18-6, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) may have come into the third inning a little disappointed, but wouldn’t leave it that way. Scoring 10 runs in the inning, Miami needed nothing more to win.

“We put the 10 runs up, which was great, but we got lackadaisical and lethargic after that,” DiMare said. “At the end of the day, I’m happy we won the game, but not happy with how we won.”

Freshman outfielder Gaby Gutierrez, who singled home a run to send the Hurricanes to extra innings Sunday, did the same to open the scoring as freshman outfielder Zach Levenson scored on an RBI single. Kayfus singled to left, adding another before freshman outfielder Edgardo Villegas notched a two-run hit.

The biggest play of the inning would come next as junior catcher Maxwell Romero Jr. expanded the lead with a three-run home run to right-center field.

Finishing the scoring, Levenson added a run with an RBI single and Kayfus collected two more RBI in the inning as he singled to right field.

Kayfus, the leadoff hitter, finished 4-for-5 with three RBI in his first four-hit game of his collegiate career.

“I was just trying to stay simple and consistent at the plate,” Kayfus said. “When everyone is going like that it’s contagious. It comes naturally to you.”

FGCU sophomore left-hander Mason Miller started and was tagged with four earned runs in the inning. In relief, graduate student and former Towson pitcher Josh Seils gave up four before Daniel Batcher surrendered a run.

Povey struck back in the bottom of the fourth as he doubled to left center, scoring infielder Alejandro Figueredo.

In the bottom of the fifth, leadoff hitter Brian Ellis notched his fourth home run of the season, making it 10-4 Miami as the Eagles continued to climb back in the game.

Garland, who came in leading the ACC in ERA, finished his day with five innings pitched, nine hits allowed and allowed four earned runs, while striking out eight batters and walking none in 94 pitches.

Relieved by sophomore Alejandro Torres, the Hurricanes utilized three more pitchers the rest of the way to down the Eagles.

In the top of the seventh, sophomore Jacob Burke came home on a passed ball. Later, FGCU scored on an error by sophomore third baseman Yohandy Morales and a passed ball to tighten the gap to 11-7 in the eighth.

Garland (4-1) earned the win, while Miller received the loss (1-4) as he was relieved by five pitchers.

The Hurricanes will remain on the road for the rest of the week, traveling to Duke to begin a three-game series against the Blue Devils. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday.