University of Miami ace Chris Diaz got rocked for an uncustomary eight hits Friday night at Alex Rodriguez Park.
It didn’t matter much.
The Hurricane fielders still played flawless behind him, the hitters still produced nine runs in the first three innings, and the Canes continued their winning spree with an 11-1 victory over Alabama State.
The Canes (33-13), ranked fourth by Collegiate Baseball and 10th by Baseball America, are 20-1 in their past 21 games.
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After riding a 14-game winning streak interrupted by a loss to Notre Dame, Miami has won six in a row.
“We’ve been pitching, we’ve been playing good defense and we’ve been getting hits when we need them,” UM coach Jim Morris said. “They believe in themselves in all phases of the game right now.”
UM was led by senior second baseman Alex Hernandez, who tripled in the first inning, doubled in the third and singled in the fifth — a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. The last Cane to do so was Gaby Sanchez against Pace exactly 11 years before Friday’s game.
Hernandez, who ended the night with a career-high four RBI, said teammate Thomas Woodrey mentioned “the cycle’’ after his first two hits.
“He was trying to come up with a game plan for me. He goes, ‘You got to go for the single because that’s the easiest one, and maybe your fourth at-bat you can go for it.’ But I didn’t think like that. I wasn’t going out there swinging. I was just trying to hit the ball well. It would have been nice, yes, but I just stuck to my approach. Maybe another time.”
Diaz (8-0, 2.15 ERA) allowed only one earned run in the third despite the first three Hornet hitters going 5 for 8. The rest of the Alabama State lineup went 3 for 18 during his six-inning stint. The Hornets (33-18) entered the game hitting .296 as a team and were ranked eighth in the nation in hits and fifth in runs scored.
UM’s Sebastian Diaz, pinch-hitting for Dale Carey in the eighth, closed the scoring with a two-run home run over the scoreboard — the first Canes pinch-hit homer since April 3, 2011.
The Canes and Hornets play the second game of the series at 7 p.m. Saturday.