Thanks to a recurring formula of solid pitching and defense paired with timely hits, the University of Miami continued its winning ways with a 6-1 victory over Milwaukee on Friday night at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
Unranked to start the season despite an NCAA-record 40 consecutive postseason appearances, No.
Junior left fielder Tyler Palmer led off with a bunt single, and Tassi plunked junior second baseman Alex Hernandez with a pitch. Senior right fielder Chantz Mack then bunted to load the bases. The Hurricanes got a ball out of the infield on freshman first baseman David Thompson’s two-run double that chopped over the third baseman’s glove to score Palmer and Hernandez.
“Just not trying to do too much,” said Thompson, who has 10 RBI in five games. “Got a lot of good hitters around me. I’ve just been lucky coming up with a lot of guys on base.”
As the inning continued, junior third baseman Sam Koenig bobbled junior Brad Fieger’s grounder, chasing Mack home. After a double play, junior center fielder Dale Carey walked and stole second. Senior catcher Will Fadness’ throw ended up in the outfield, scoring Thompson.
Milwaukee (2-3) trimmed the deficit to 4-1 in the second on first baseman Pat Wilson’s one-out single to center off sophomore left-hander Chris Diaz (1-0). It followed freshman designated hitter Mitch Ghelfi’s walk and senior left fielder Jonathan Capasso’s single.
Over the course of his six innings of work, Diaz took advantage of an aggressive Panthers offense, effectively throwing his pitches early in counts and letting his defense turn four double plays. Freshman right-hander Frank Grandinette and senior right-hander Vince Kossak combined for three scoreless innings of relief.
“It’s always nice to have an early lead,” said Diaz, who was UM’s opening day starter because of injuries to senior Eric Whaley and junior Bryan Radziewski. “It takes a lot of pressure off, and you just pitch to contact and let the defense work.”
The Hurricanes tacked on a pair of runs in the seventh off sophomore left-hander Justin Jaquish.
Thompson’s full-count, two-out double off the wall in left-center field drove in Hernandez, who had singled with one out and advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches. Fieger and senior catcher Alex San Juan produced back-to-back singles, the latter scoring freshman Christopher Barr, who pinch-ran for Thompson.
“[It’s] pitching and defense to me,” UM coach Jim Morris said of the team’s formula for success. “We’re swinging the bat OK. We’ve really set the tempo with our defense. … It’s been fun to watch.”
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Hard-nosed Miami senior Ryan Shaffer and the Canes will begin their postseason run Friday in Nebraska.
Beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, the University of Miami will open its first five bowl practices to the public.
Depending on the outcome of this weekend’s conference title games, Miami could be headed to the Chick-fil-A Bowl or Russell Athletic Bowl.
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