Florida Atlantic junior Ricky Santiago hit a two-run homer in the first inning, and from there the Owls continued to dominate in their 5-2 victory Wednesday night at Alex Rodriguez Park.
Three FAU pitchers held No. 16 Miami to six hits before closer Kevin Alexander entered in the ninth and gave up another two. But UM senior Dale Carey struck out on three pitches with the tying run at the plate to end the game.
The Canes, who meet the 23rd-ranked Florida Gators in the first game of a weekend series on Friday in Coral Gables, committed four errors in dropping to 2-2. They have committed 12 in four games this season.
FAU (3-1), first-year members of Conference USA, won their 12th of 65 games that have been played between the South Florida schools since 1982.
“No. 1, we’ve got to play better defense,” UM coach Jim Morris said. “But we’ve got to swing the bat batter and we’ve got to play the game with more confidence.
“…I can’t worry about Florida. We’ve got to worry about us. We’ve got to worry about us playing good, because it doesn’t matter who you’re playing if you don’t play good defense and pitch and do the things you’ve got to do.’’
Added third baseman David Thompson: “We’ve definitely struggled in the infield a lot — missed a lot of routine plays, made a lot of bad throws. Plain and simple, we just have to do better.”
The Canes left eight runners stranded, including bases loaded in the seventh, when UM senior Tyler Palmer had UM fans hopeful until he fouled out to right field on the first pitch.
UM starter Javi Salas allowed three earned runs on six hits in six innings for the loss. He struck out seven.
Rhodes allowed two earned runs on four hits in 5.2 innings, while striking out five.
• FIU 5, Stetson 2: FIU had timely pitching. Stetson had untimely errors. Naturally, the host Panthers won.
The victory made FIU 5-0 for the first time since 2010.
Freshman righthander pitcher Chris Mourelle, a Southwest High graduate, got the win in his first start. Senior Mike Gomez’s third appearance since Tommy John surgery 11 months ago became his second save of the season. Three hits by senior Zach Sweety and a two for five night by junior catcher Aramis Garcia, leading the team in hitting with a .556 average, accounted for half of FIU’s hits.
But FIU’s offense received the maladroit assistance of the Stetson defense donning their Bad News Bears hats for six errors.
David J. Neal
Barry 75, Nova Southeastern 72: Yunio Barrueta had 20 points and 14 rebounds, and Juan Ferrales and Deric Hill each scored 15 points to help the host Buccaneers (17-6, 7-6 Sunshine State Conference) beat the Sharks.
Hill also had 11 assists and two steals to break Barry’s all-time season records in both categories.
Chris Page led Nova (11-14, 7-6 SSC) with 16 points, all in the second half.
Nova Southeastern 86, Barry 73: Richelle Carach had 21 points and eight rebounds, Jasmin Wilkins added 19 points and seven boards, and the Sharks (21-2, 11-2 SSC) beat the Buccaneers.
Tyler Hardy had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and Kaylia Richardson added 20 points for host Barry (13-10, 5-8 SSC).