The Miami Hurricanes have strung together back-to-back wins for the first time since their opening series, defeating Maine 4-3 on Tuesday night at Mark Light Field.
But it wouldn’t have happened without a 3-run homer by Romy Gonzalez, and a lot of sweating afterward.
Up 4-3, the Hurricanes put in freshman reliever Albert Maury to replace fellow right-handed freshman starter Evan McKendry in the eighth, but Maury gave up consecutive singles. In came right-handed sophomore Andrew Cabezas, who allowed a bunt single to Hernen Sardinas to load the bases.
Cabezas then struck out Brandon Vicens. On the next pitch, Jeremy Pena squared to bunt and the runner on third, Christopher Bec, was caught charging home for the second out. Cabezas subsequently got Pena to fly out to right field to end the threat.
“McKendry pitched outstanding,’’ UM coach Jim Morris said. “...Then Cabezas got it done.
“That builds a lot of character,’’ Morris said of the eighth inning, “and it gives guys a lot of confidence they can get out of it.”
McKendry (2-0, 3.24 ERA) allowed three earned runs on five hits and two walks in seven innings for the win. He struck out six.
Cabezas earned the first save of his career, and UM raised its record to 7-9.
The Canes, however, mustered only three hits — the fifth time this season they’ve had three or fewer hits.
Gonzalez had two of those hits. His three-run blast over the right field fence in the third inning made it 4-0 Hurricanes – one inning after Gonzalez led off with a double, then scored the Canes’ first run on an error by Maine first baseman Sardinas.
Gonzalez leads the Canes with four homers and seven multi-RBI games this season.
“We obviously didn’t hit like we did against Georgia Tech, but it was a great team win,” Gonzalez said. “McKendry really threw the ball well, and Cabezas was amazing out of the bullpen.”
Added Morris: “I would have thought we would have scored more runs. But we got the big home run by Romy, and he’s improved so much as a hitter. When he came here two years ago, he would not hit a ball out of the park to right field... The ball jumps off his bat.”
The Black Bears (6-9) chipped away at the lead. They scored one in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Bec, who graduated from Coral Springs Christian Academy. They made it 4-2 in the fifth on Danny Casals’ home run to right. Casals, out of Miami Columbus High, is one of five Miami-Dade players on the roster.
Maine scored its third run in the seventh on a walk, sacrifice bunt and single by Casals.
Miami meets Maine again at 6 p.m. Wednesday at The Light.