The Miami Hurricanes yet again backed up their top-10 national ranking against in-state rival Florida International, cruising to a 17-1 victory Wednesday night.
Sophomore captain Jake Garland pitched a career-most eight innings, allowing only one run and improving to 5-1 on the year.
Miami head coach Gino DiMare was happy with Garland’s performance, noting his efficiency. The right-hander recorded six strikeouts in his seventh start of the season.
“Jake, we wanted to get a game out of him. He did just what the doctor ordered, he threw eight innings, a ton of ground balls which is what he always does, he was very efficient,” DiMare said.
No. 8 Miami (23-6, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) racked up nine runs in the first two innings, making a statement early on. The Canes set season-highs in runs, hits and home runs, storming the Panthers with 19 hits.
Freshman outfielder Edgardo Villegas, who went 3-for-4 in a stellar night, started off the game with a solo home run on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first inning.
Then, after sophomore outfielder Jacob Burke led off the second inning with a single, sophomore shortstop Dominic Pitelli blasted a home run to bring the score to 3-0, adding to his team-high six home runs.
Following walks from sophomore first baseman CJ Kayfus and freshman second baseman Dorian Gonzalez later that inning, Villegas smashed a three-run shot for his second home run of the game and third of the year.
“Sometimes you can go 0-for-15, I just try to keep going, doing the same routine,” Villegas said. “Today was a pretty amazing game, thank God, I put my work in and it went great.”
After sophomore third baseman Yohandy Morales and junior catcher Maxwell Romero each singled, Burke was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Pitelli stepped up to plate and delivered a two-RBI single to continue his hot streak and increase the lead to 8-0. Pitelli went 4-for-5 on the night and is coming off ACC Player of the Week recognition.
“You put in the work and anything can happen, you just gotta believe in yourself,” Pitelli said. “I knew I always had it in me, but there’s a lot more left to prove. I knew I could succeed at this level.”
Burke stole home on a throw-down play to second to cap off the eight-run second inning and bring the score to 9-0. The Canes kept the pressure on in the third inning, tacking on two more runs thanks to a Kayfus single and a two-run double from Villegas.
Miami opened a 15-0 lead in the fourth, highlighted by Kayfus’ three-run home run. Kayfus has been the Hurricanes’ most consistent offensive weapon this year, leading the team in hits and RBI.
Miami scored two more runs while conceding a lone run in the eight on the way to victory. Garland was given the win, while FIU starter Christian Santana picked up the loss.
The Canes looks to extend their win streak to 11 this weekend, where they’ll match up against the Virginia Cavaliers in a three-game home series. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 7 p.m.