Miami (27-4) scored five third-inning runs on only one hit, and starter Jesse Lepore threw six strong innings as the top-ranked Hurricanes held on to win their 11th game in a row, defeating UCF 8-4.
The Hurricanes improved to 9-0 in midweek games, and Lepore moved to 5-0 in seven midweek starts.
Lepore retired the first nine batters he faced, struck out six, and did not allow a hit until Anthony George’s RBI double off the left-field wall with two outs in the fifth.
He got all of the run support he needed in the third, when Randy Batista was hit by a pitch with two outs to load the bases. After Carl Chester and Christopher Barr drew back-to-back, bases-loaded walks, Batista scored on a wild pitch. Jacob Heyward delivered the Hurricanes’ only hit of the inning, a two-run single that drove in Chester and Barr and extended Miami’s lead to 6-0.
For the game, Miami drew 14 walks, had two batters hit, and took advantage of seven wild pitches.
“It’s just good at-bats by us,” Heyward said of the team’s offensive performance. “There’s definitely teams that could go out there and swing at anything in the world … that’s been our approach all season — get good pitches to hit.”
Every UM batter reached base at least once. Batista and Brandon Lopez each reached base four times, scored two runs and drove in one run.
UCF (18-17) rallied for three runs against Frankie Bartow in the eighth inning, prompting UM coach Jim Morris to turn to closer Bryan Garcia with one out and runners on the corners. Garcia struck out Brooks Morgan and Luke Hamblin to end the inning, then struck out two more Knights in the ninth to earn the save.
Garcia recorded his Atlantic Coast Conference-leading 10th save of the season and the 35th save of his career, breaking a tie with Robbie Morrison for third on the Hurricanes’ all-time saves list.
“I’ve never seen a great club that didn’t have a great closer to come in and get it done,” Morris said of Garcia. “He came in asked me, ‘Can I close?’ He wants that role … he loves going in there with the game on the line.”
The Knights scored their first run on George’s fifth-inning double, but Hurricanes right fielder Willie Abreu ended the inning by throwing out George at home plate as he tried to score on Matthew Mika’s single.
Miami’s 11-game winning streak is the longest active streak in Division 1 baseball, and the Hurricanes look to keep rolling this weekend in Durham, North Carolina, against Duke.