The 12th-ranked Miami Hurricanes routed Bethune-Cookman 13-3 on Wednesday night and also got news that figures to make this weekend’s Atlantic Coast Conference series against Duke significantly easier.
Catcher Zack Collins had the first three-hit game of his sophomore season and was one of four Canes players to drive in two runs. The others were right fielder Willie Abreu, first baseman Christopher Barr and pinch-hitter Garrett Kennedy.
Sophomore Danny Garcia (5-1) gave up three runs, including two solo homers, in five innings but got the win with relief help from Danny Briggi and Andy Honiotes, who shut down the Wildcats (10-22) for the final four innings.
Next up for Miami (21-9, 8-4 ACC) is a three-game set against Duke (19-10, 4-8), which just lost top starter Mike Matuella, who will need Tommy John surgery.
Matuella, rated the No. 5 prospect eligible for the 2015 MLB Draft, had a 1.08 ERA in six starts this season. Duke also on Wednesday lost lefty reliever Nick Hendrix for the season.
“I heard about it before the game – that’s pretty much the biggest talk in baseball right now,” Collins said of Matuella’s injury. “It’s good not to face him but terrible that it can happen to a kid like that. I wish him the best of luck, but we’re pretty excited that we don’t have to face him.”
Miami, which leads the Coastal Division by two games over Virginia, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, will be going for its fourth straight ACC series win.
The Hurricanes enter the Duke series with an improving offense.
Third baseman David Thompson, who extended his career-long hit streak to 19 games on Wednesday, is hitting .353 and leads the team in homers (8) and RBI (41).
George Iskenderian – who started at second base for the first time this season on Wednesday – is hitting .339 and is second on the team with 33 runs.
“He hasn’t played second since ninth or 10th grade,” Canes coach Jim Morris said of Iskenderian, who has been used mostly at shortstop but also at third base this season. “We’re just trying to get our best defense out there, best hitters, best team.”
NOTE: Canes backup quarterback/reserve outfielder Malik Rosier struck out as a pinch-hitter. He is now hitting .500 (3 for 6).