The University of Miami scored five runs in the fourth inning to take a lead it never relinquished, defeating St. Thomas University 14-2 Wednesday at Mark Light Field.
The Hurricanes, in the middle of an uncharacteristically poor season, can use every victory they get. The Canes (13-16) have now defeated St. Thomas (28-13), a member of the NAIA’s Division I, 24 consecutive times.
Miami’s eight-hit night included a two-run homer and single by Romy Gonzalez and double and single by Michael Burns.
“Very big win for us,’’ UM coach Jim Morris said. “It’s nice to score some runs and be able to relax. A lot of guys got to play. It’s nice to get ahead and get some guys in the game.’’
Said Gonzalez: “It was a great night. Whenever we win, it’s always fun. The guys seemed to be a lot looser having fun. And that’s what we’ve got to go back to.’’
Nine of 10 Bobcat pitchers combined for 16 walks, four with bases loaded – one in the fourth inning, one in the sixth and two in the seventh.
“Deadly if you’re the other team,’’ Morris said.
UM designated hitter Alex Sanchez drew four walks.
Freshman starter Gregory Veliz (3-2, 2.56 ERA) earned the win in 5 1/3 innings. Veliz allowed two earned runs on five hits and one walk and struck out six.
Albert Maury, Keven Pementel and Daniel Rivero pitched strong relief for the Canes, not allowing a hit or run.
“Rivero came in for two innings and looked like Nolan Ryan there in the eighth inning,’’ said Morris of the freshman, who struck out five of the six batters he faced. In the eighth inning, Rivero, a 6-3, 200-pound Pembroke Pines Charter graduate, struck out the side on nine pitches, becoming the first Miami pitcher to do so since Cesar Carillo in 2005.
“I’ve never seen him throw that good,’’ Morris said. “That’s the thing, the opportunity guys get when you score a few runs. Tonight was a lot of fun.’’
St. Thomas starter Rene Arauz (2-2, 3.13), who allowed four earned runs on four hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings, took the loss.
UM opens its three-game weekend series against Duke at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Light. The Canes continue against the Blue Devils at 2 p.m. Sunday and close the series at 7 p.m. Monday.