Right-hander Derik Beauprez pitched five effective innings and Zack Collins had three hits for the second consecutive game as the Hurricanes defeated Florida Gulf Coast 4-0 on Wednesday night at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
Beauprez (1-0) allowed two hits and one walk. He also struck out a career-high four batters, needing 65 pitches.
“My biggest problem was not throwing first-pitch strikes,” Beauprez said. “[Pitching coach] J.D. [Arteaga] and the other pitchers talked to me about making sure I got ahead. The most important pitch to throw is the first strike.”
The Cherry Hills Village, Colo., native, who made his first start in a 5-2 extra-inning win over the Eagles last Wednesday, said he took a different approach in his first home start.
“I’ve been waiting for this kind of opportunity,” Beauprez said. “I’ve been throwing it down a lot, and J.D. has been working with me a lot to not focus on throwing all strikes but to throw to contact.”
Miami (14-12) opened the scoring for the third consecutive game, getting a run in the bottom of the first on Zack Collins’ RBI double. Collins, who entered the contest hitting .412 in his last five games, continued his hot streak with his fifth double of the season. The hit scored senior Dale Carey, who singled, and sent freshman Willie Abreu, who walked, to third base with one out.
But senior Brad Fieger struck out, and Abreu was thrown out at third by catcher Andrew Valencia to keep Miami’s lead at 1-0.
The Hurricanes would add to their lead in the fourth, when freshman Johnny Ruiz – making his sixth consecutive start at third base – led off with a double into the left-field corner. An RBI single from senior Alex Hernandez and a sacrifice fly from Brandon Lopez allowd the Hurricanes take a 3-0 lead over the Eagles (16-9) into the fifth inning.
With the way Miami pitchers were throwing, that was all the Hurricanes would need. Beauprez, sophomore Thomas Woodrey and freshman Cooper Hammond combined to allow just two hits and two walks throughout nine innings. No Florida Gulf Coast batter reached as far as second base, and the Eagles struck out eight times.
After junior Garrett Kennedy increased Miami’s lead to 4-0 with an RBI single in the sixth, senior Tyler Palmer continued a recent streak of defensive excellence by taking a homer away from Michael Suchy in left.
“It’s a big win for the team,” Beauprez said. “We all played well; it was a great team win. We can always build off wins like this.”
Ruiz had three hits, and senior Dale Carey went 2-for-4. Freshman Willie Abreu (six) and Collins (seven) extended their games-reached-base streaks.
Miami out-hit Florida Gulf Coast 12-2.
Beauprez said team chemistry has been key in staying positive during a recent difficult stretch.
“Ever since the fall and leading into the spring before the season started, we really bonded as a team,” Beauprez said. “I got here early this summer, and the whole team really helped me out. We really play for each other.”
The Hurricanes return to the diamond Friday at Doak Field for a matchup with No. 25 N.C. State. First pitch for the series opener, set to be broadcast on ESPN3, is set for 6 p.m.