In another mid-week battle among top-25 baseball powers from Florida, the ninth-ranked University of Miami again played up to its higher ranking.
Propelled by a two-run single by designated hitter Garrett Kennedy, the Hurricanes broke a 2-2 knot in the seventh inning Wednesday at home to defeat No. 19 UCF 4-2.
Last week, it was then-No. 21 FAU falling to the Hurricanes in 10 innings on a Wednesday night.
The Canes (29-9), on a nine-game win streak, are 22-2 at Mark Light Field this season.
UCF (25-13) was held to four hits and lost its third game of the past four.
“If you play the teams from down here, they’re all pretty good,” UM coach Jim Morris said. “I don’t care whether it’s FAU or Central Florida or South Florida. It helps prepare you, and it also helps your RPI.
“That’s the reason our RPI is . We’ve won those Wednesday games.”
Said Kennedy: “You always have to rise to the occasion, no matter what.”
Kennedy, a senior from Davie, is on a nine-game hitting streak. His single through the right side drove home Brandon Lopez (single) and Carl Chester (single).
After UCF took a 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by Erik Barber, UM tied the score in the second when Willie Abreu blasted his second home run of the season to right field.
The Canes went ahead in the third on an RBI single by Zack Collins, but UCF came right back with a solo homer by Tommy Williams. Williams, from North Palm Beach, was named to USA Baseball’s midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list last week.
UM reliever Michael Mediavilla (2-1) got the win, with closer Bryan Garcia earning his eighth save.
Miami starter Danny Garcia allowed two earned runs on the four hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Miami came into Wednesday with a five-game lead in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division and travels to Virginia for a weekend series. The latest victory, witnessed by 2,184 fans, marked the end of a nine-game home stand.
“Our fans, I think, are the best in the country,” Abreu said. “It’s amazing playing here. The fans definitely get us going.”