The questions that lingered until first pitch Saturday centered around who the Miami Hurricanes could count on — besides returning ace Andy Suarez — in an otherwise inexperienced starting rotation.
Combining all the experience of juniors Thomas Woodrey and Enrique Sosa, and sophomore Danny Garcia — UM’s No.2 through No.4 starters — totaled just four career starts. How would they adjust to the increased inning demands?
At least for a day, that question was answered. And UM coach Jim Morris liked the response.
“It’s a big thing for them to establish themselves,” said Morris, after the Hurricanes rode dominant starts from Woodrey and Sosa to sweep a day-night doubleheader against Rutgers at Mark Light Field and improve to 3-0. “We had a lot of encouraging things happen [Saturday].”
Making his first start since March 2013, Woodrey tossed six innings of two-run ball to lead UM to a 9-5 victory in Game 1.
Sosa, making his first career start, was even better in Game 2’s 9-3 victory. Sosa struck out 10 over 52/3 innings of one-hit ball, walked only two and left after 94 pitches to a standing ovation.
This against Rutgers, a Northeast school but one that after a second-place finish in the American Athletic Conference last season and its new status in the Big 10 shouldn’t be considered a pushover by any stretch.
“I felt great throughout the whole start,” said the righty, whose fastball flirted with triple digits and had Rutgers in fits.
Sosa saw limited time in his first two seasons and struggled, entering Saturday’s start with a 6.92 career ERA in 221/3 innings. But after three of UM’s four starters were drafted in 2014, Sosa focused on starting for his summer club and throughout fall workouts.
On Saturday, he allowed just one ball to reach the outfield. The only hit he surrendered went for a harmless infield single.
“There was more running, working out harder than ever,” he said. “I guess it’s working out.”
Woodrey made three starts during his freshman season before proving himself a reliable reliever as a sophomore in 2014, recording a 2.54 ERA in 492/3 innings. He has always prepared as a starter, preferring muscle over mental memory.
“It was definitely a lot more mentally exhausting than I remember,” he said. “I tried to get better as I went.”
After allowing a first-inning home run, Woodrey scattered just two hits over the next five innings and improved his career record to 9-0.
While Woodrey cruised, Zack Collins put the Hurricanes ahead with the biggest of their 25 hits, a three-run double in the second. Garrett Kennedy’s two-run single in the sixth provided insurance.
JUCO transfer George Iskenderian drove in three runs to pace UM in Game 2, while third baseman David Thompson added three hits. Thompson finished the day a combined 5 for 7.