Miami catcher Zack Collins’ bat finally came to life Wednesday night as he blasted a home run and had a triple to lead an early UM power surge en route to a 7-3 victory over Florida Gulf Coast University on Wednesday night at Mark Light Field.
Collins finished 2 for 3 with two walks. He also threw out both base runners who attempted to steal.
“I thought that Zack had a real complete game for us tonight,” Miami coach Jim Morris said. “He had the big home run, the triple and had a great night at the plate. He also played great defense behind the plate. It was just a great performance.”
The American Heritage-Plantation product, who was just 1-for-18 over his last five games, felt that he played his most complete game of the season. Despite the fact that he has reached base in every game this season, he has not enjoyed the success at the plate that he had last season when he was the consensus ACC Freshman of the Year.
“I would not really call it a slump, I was hitting the ball hard and driving in runs. I just did not get that many hits,” Collins said. “I worked on a few things against the Marlins [on Tuesday]. I was over striding and I cut down my swing and it worked. I felt real good at the plate tonight.”
The Canes (9-4) wasted no time getting their bats started. Carl Chester led the game off with a single to centerfield and stole second base. He was sacrificed over to third base by Ricky Eusebio and scored on a ground out by George Iskenderian. Collins, who entered the game with a .382 on base percentage, then came to the plate and belted his second home run of the season to deep center field to give Miami an early 2-0 lead. The shot flew over the center field wall and eclipsed the 400 foot sign with significant room to spare.
The Canes scored two more runs in the bottom of the second inning as they continued to pound FGCU starter Sterling Koerner. Miami led 4-0 after two innings of play.
Danny Garcia (2-0) pitched five innings and was credited with the victory. Koerner (2-2) was tagged with the loss for the Eagles. Koerner entered the game ranked eighth in the country in strikeouts, but could not strikeout any Hurricane batsmen during his 2 2/3 innings of work.
The 11th-ranked Hurricanes will travel to Louisville on Thursday to begin ACC play with a three-game set against the 17th-ranked Cardinals on Friday afternoon