Before Friday, the last time the University of Miami wore pink for breast cancer awareness the Canes beat Louisville on a walk-off grand slam.
On Friday night, a more conventional victory (though no less nerve-racking) against Georgia Tech was enough to create a celebratory stir at Mark Light Field.
Carl Chester’s four-hit night helped the Hurricanes snap a three-game losing streak to defeat the No. 23 Yellow Jackets 10-8 in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener.
Miami (5-8, 1-0 ACC) had a season-high 10 hits, including three triples and two doubles. Chester had both those doubles, 2 RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base.
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“It’s a big win for us, needless to say,’’ said UM coach Jim Morris. “We’ve been battling. Our guys are working hard and playing hard and hadn’t been getting a lot of breaks. Our offense was outstanding tonight.”
The triples were hit by Michael Burns (3 RBI), Romy Gonzalez (2 RBI) and James Davison.
Freshman reliever Albert Maury (0.75 ERA) earned his first career win by allowing 1 hit in a career-long 2 2/3 inings, with a career-high four strikeouts.
“Honestly, the win for me doesn’t really mean anything,’’ said the 6-2, 205-pound Maury, a graduate of Miami Belen Jesuit. “It’s the team win that means the most. We’ve been struggling, but we’re taking every day as a new day, competing every day and doing what we can to win ball games.’’
Frankie Bartow closed out the heart-pounding ninth for his third save after the Yellow Jackets (9-3, 0-1) scored a run on a sacrifice fly. Chase Murray ended the game by lining out to left field with bases loaded.
The Canes scored their season-high 10 runs with two runs in each of the first three innings, fifth inning and eighth inning. Chester’s insurance double to left in the eighth drove home Johnny Ruiz and Davison.
“Hitting was just contagious tonight,’’ Chester said. “From inning one we were swinging the bat and putting the ball in play, which is something we kind of struggled with all year. But we really opened it up tonight. We came out like it was a new day and in the dugout we had a little more energy after the first inning putting up a two-spot.’’
Georgia Tech came into the game averaging 9.5 runs and .339 at bat. The Yellow Jackets’ runs included two in the third on Joey Bart’s two-run homer, his eighth of the season, which tied him for the nation’s lead.
The Yellow Jackets’ losing pitcher was starter Xzavion Curry, who allowed eight runs (five earned) on seven hits and two walks in four innings.
“We’re 1-0 in the conference,’’ Morris said. “A lot of times when you have good seasons you look at when it turned if you struggled early. Hopefully today is the day that turns it for us and we start winning more and more games.’’
The teams meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday, with Jeb Bargfeldt (1-1, 2.55) pitching for Miami and Jonathan Hughes (1-0, 2.25) starting for Georgia Tech.