University of Miami

April 17, 2014

University of Miami baseball team extends winning streak to 13 games by edging Florida Atlantic University 2-1

The hottest team in college baseball hasn’t cooled off yet.

The hottest team in college baseball hasn’t cooled off yet.

The Miami Hurricanes, who jumped nine spots in two polls this week, won their nation-leading 13th consecutive game Wednesday in defeating FAU 2-1 at Alex Rodriguez Park – despite only four hits.

The one that mattered most: a two-out, two-strike burner by Johnny Ruiz that he ripped down the left-field line to drive home Sebastian Diaz (single) and Alex Hernandez (walk) in the second inning.

Turns out that’s all Miami (26-12, 14-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) needed, though it got uncomfortably tight for the Canes in the ninth, when the Owls (19-17, 7-11 Conference USA) scored a run on a two-out, two-strike RBI-single by Jose Bonilla Traverso.

With FAU runner Ricky Santiago on second, freshman closer Bryan Garcia ensured the victory and earned his ACC-leading 11th save by striking out Esteban Puerta.

Right-handed senior Javi Salas had his second consecutive quality start to keep the Hurricanes – ranked 15th by Baseball America and 11th by Collegiate Baseball – rolling toward what they hope will be their first home regional since 2012. They haven’t lost since falling to Virginia on March 24.

“With our streak, every win is a big win, because it’s great to continue that streak,’’ said UM coach Jim Morris. “Our pitchers pitched very well, not just Javi but everybody out of the bullpen. You’ve got to credit our pitching staff, and our defense was really good. We turned over [three] double plays.’’

The UM relievers who held FAU scoreless were Thomas Woodrey and Cooper Hammond, with Garcia allowing the one earned run in the ninth.

Salas (3-3) allowed four hits in five innings and struck out four.

Still, Morris conceded that Miami was far from good offensively. The Canes stranded nine runners.

“We didn’t bunt; we didn’t execute; we didn’t get guys in. ...’’ the coach said. “[Thursday] and Friday, one of the things we’ll be working on is bunting. … We’ve tried to be hitting more and bunting less, but we need to get a better combination.’’

FAU left-handed freshman Sean Labsan, who was drafted by the Rangers in the 17th round, lasted five outs before being replaced by sophomore Seth McGarry. Labsan, who was tagged with the loss, gave up the two earned runs on three hits and one walk.

Six of UM’s wins during its streak have come by one run.

“We’ve been playing with a lot of confidence,’’ Ruiz said. “Those close games in the beginning of the year we were struggling to get a big hit or close things out. Now we’ve been doing that.’’

Notre Dame (15-21, 3-15 ACC) comes to Alex Rodriguez Park this weekend for a three-game series that runs from Saturday through Monday, each game starting at 7 p.m.

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