It was an offensive start unlike any UM coach Jim Morris could remember, and then his Hurricanes barely had to swing the rest of the night.
“Crazy” was the way Morris described UM’s look-away-and-you-missed-it first-inning rally, during which the Hurricanes secured a 7-0 midweek win over visiting Stetson well before the sun went down.
The first nine UM hitters reached base and the first seven scored in a barrage so impressive that it overshadowed lefty Danny Garcia’s seven shutout innings. Garcia struck out a career-high 11, scattered three hits and allowed just one batter to reach second base.
“Best outing since he’s been here,” Morris said of Garcia, who improved to 3-0.
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Garcia started on three days rest after tossing four scoreless innings of emergency relief in Sunday’s walk-off loss to Louisville. In that appearance, Garcia had to keep UM within striking distance. Wednesday, the sophomore had to make sure the early score stood.
“Every pitch was working,” he said.
So were the bats.
Carl Chester opened the first inning with a leadoff home run – his third dinger of the season – over the scoreboard in left field.
UM went small from there, and they did it often. If hitting truly is contagious, this was the equivalent of the Hurricanes catching the plague.
After Ricky Eusebio singled and Zack Collins walked, UM strung together six consecutive singles. David Thompson’s bouncer through the left side scored two, George Iskenderian’s brought home another and Garrett Kennedy’s hit to right chased Stetson starter Evin Lynch seven batters into the game.
Thompson led the way with three of UM’s 13 total hits. Eusebio, Christopher Barr and Johnny Ruiz also drove in runs.
Lynch allowed seven earned runs without recording an out.
▪ Morris hopes ace Andy Suarez can return from an oblique injury to start Sunday against North Carolina State. Suarez will be limited to five innings. He hasn’t pitched since the Feb. 13 season opener.
▪ UM played its eighth game without starting shortstop Brandon Lopez, who serving his second suspension this season for violating team rules. Morris chose not to comment on Lopez’s return.