Derik Beauprez learned he’d be starting on the mound for Miami against Bethune-Cookman only hours before Wednesday’s game.
Not only did Beauprez prosper in place of Danny Garcia (illness), but he pitched five no-hit innings before being pulled in the No. 12-ranked Hurricanes’ second-most lopsided triumph of the season.
While the sophomore right-hander allowed just one base-runner, a third-inning walk, his teammates scored in each of the first six frames on the way to a 14-0 rout at Mark Light Field. It was the start of an eight-game home stand to end the regular season.
“When a pitcher like Derik’s throwing zeroes up on the board, the hitters get confidence and we start getting hits,” said Chris Barr, who had a career-high tying three hits. “It feels great. If we’re hitting the ball like this, pitching like we are right now and playing defense, it’s going to be really tough to beat us.”
The Hurricanes (35-13) racked up five runs in the fifth, including three on Garrett Kennedy’s bases-clearing double. Nine of the Canes’ RBI came with two outs.
Wednesday’s offensive outburst also included two RBI apiece by Ricky Eusebio and Zack Collins, and a solo home run by David Thompson.
The Canes, who tallied at least 12 runs for the third time in five games, did so in part due to drawing 12 walks from Bethune’s six pitchers. They tagged starter Michael Austin for six runs and prompted his exit after just 2 2/3 innings.
“They were struggling a little bit, so as a hitter, we were just trying to wait for a good pitch and be patient,” Barr said. “Once you get the right pitch, you’ve got to take a nice hack at it.”
Meanwhile, Beauprez, who lasted two innings in his previous start March 8 against Louisville, cruised while striking out a career-high six in a career-high tying five innings.
“I walked into the locker room and they told me, ‘You’re getting the ball today.’ I was happy to get the ball. I hope Danny’s feeling better, though,” Beauprez said. He threw 43 strikes on 62 pitches.
“It was a huge opportunity,” said Beauprez, who started the night with a 7.78 ERA in 13 appearances (19 2/3 innings). “I started out a little shaky at the beginning, but then I started throwing strikes. …The biggest thing was throwing first-pitch strikes and pounding the zone, getting ahead of the hitters.”
A Boston Red Sox draft pick in high school, he had lasted just 5 1/3 innings combined in his other three starts this season.
“Beau was supposed to be in our starting rotation at the beginning of the year, so we felt like that was the right guy,” said Miami coach Jim Morris. “It helps us because last year, he came in the last game against Texas Tech and threw well for about six innings. No question, this builds his confidence, which builds confidence for us in him. He’s got a very high ceiling with a lot of potential, and it was good to see him go out and pitch well.”
Hoping to preserve Beauprez’s arm for this weekend, Morris relieved him with Daniel Briggi to start the sixth.
Briggi carried the no-hitter into the seventh, when Bethune-Cookman got its first hit of the game on Jordan Robinson’s double off Sam Abrams. Briggi, Abrams, Andy Honiotes and Jesse Lepore each pitched an inning in relief.
“It was a good team win for us. A lot of hits,” Morris said. “Beauprez set the tone pitching, had really good stuff. I thought a lot of guys came in and threw well that hadn’t pitched a lot, were coming off injuries.”