On April 25, Miami baseball met up with Florida Atlantic University (FAU) for its fourth matchup of the season between the two teams. The ‘Canes were 1-2 against the Owls this year going into the game and suffered a 7-6 loss when they played six days prior. Yet, as the sun set Tuesday evening, the score kept rising for UM, as it won 12-9.
FAU freshman and starting pitcher Dylan Oborne surrendered six earned runs, lasting a little over two innings before being subbed out for junior Sam Drumheller. Miami clobbered six home runs in the first four innings en route to a 12-4 advantage. Junior infielder CJ Kayfus hit a solo homer in the first and stacked a two-run shot in the fourth, cementing his eighth and ninth home runs of the season.
“I just saw it clicking for everyone one after another. Just clicking for each and every guy who came up to plate,” Kayfus said.
This was a selfless statement from the third-year ‘Cane, but one after another is no exaggeration. At one point, Miami tallied three-straight homers off swings from Yohandy Morales, junior Zach Levenson, and team home-run leader Blake Cyr. This four-home-run inning was the most the Hurricanes have hit in a frame since 2008.
The home run derby started and ended in the fourth, as the Hurricanes’ offense was halted for the rest of the game.
“We didn’t score after the fourth inning and that’s kinda haunted us a few times this year,” Miami head coach Gino DiMare said.
The Owls took advantage of the Miami drought and started chipping away in the fifth thanks to a two-run belt by outfielder Dylan Goldstein — his first home run in three games. In the top of the seventh, sophomore John Schroeder launched a sac fly, bringing star hitter Nolan Schanuel to home plate. After an RBI single on the very next pitch, the ‘Canes led by just four.
In what looked like a flipped switch of momentum, FAU’s Caleb Pendleton stepped to the plate with a chance to cut the lead even further. Pendleton skied what looked like a surefire home run until UM outfielder Edgardo Villegas reached back with his body fully extended and snagged the ball, hitting the wall in the process.
“We can’t beat each other up. We gotta make sure we stay together. We gotta be positive. We gotta stay confident. We gotta stay together as a team,” DiMare.
This was a sentiment that reflected how UM started the game and how they closed it out — stepping up offensively and defensively.
It was right-hander Ronaldo Gallo (1-3), who struck out all five batters he pitched, followed by Carlos Lequerica, who retired three of four batters. Closer Andrew Walters got the save.
“I’m gonna pitch my game, and it ended up coming in my favor,” Walters said.
With the bases loaded and facing Schanuel in the top of the eighth, Walters delivered a change-up, a pitch that he does not throw often, striking him out. Walters ended the game with four strikeouts.
Up next is a road trip series at Louisville, starting on Thursday at 7 p.m.