University of Miami

Hurricanes use strong fifth inning to top Hokies

Miami continued to feast on Virginia Tech pitching as they blasted the Hokies 14-4 Saturday night at Mark Light Stadium.

Zack Collins hit a towering home run to right field in the second inning that led to four Miami runs and the Hurricanes scored seven more runs in the fifth inning as they obliterated the Hokies for the second night in a row. Miami won Friday’s game 11-1. The two teams will conclude the three-game series Sunday afternoon.

“It was a total team effort tonight,” Miami coach Jim Morris said after the game. “Zack had the big hit for us and it set the momentum for the rest of the night.”

Junior pitcher Andrew Suarez ran his record to 4-0 as the Canes won for the ninth Saturday this season against only one loss. The win also gave Miami its fifth consecutive series win against an ACC foe. Their only series loss this season was at Louisville to open ACC play in February.

Following Collins’ blast several batters later, Carl Chester, who has been in a hitting slump that saw him drop from the top of the order to the bottom in recent weeks, hit a long single to left that scored David Thompson who got reached base with a single to center. The ball looked like it was going to clear the wall in left. Garrett Kennedy then kept up his torrid hitting with a long double in the alley in left that scored Christopher Barr and Brandon Lopez. Miami took a commanding 4-0 lead.

“He is battling to get where he needs to be,” Morris said of Chester. “Every hit that he gets right now is a big hit and gets his confidence a little higher. He is not where he needs to be yet, but he will get there eventually. He is a good player and he is only a freshman.”

The Canes scored seven runs in the fifth inning off of middle reliever Luke Scherzer as the Hokies committed three errors. There were two outfield fly balls that were dropped that led to three Miami’s runs. With two outs in the inning, Logan Bible dropped a fly ball to centerfield that scored Collins and Thompson. One batter later Ricky Eusebio slapped a single to centerfield that scored two more runs. Scherzer lasted 2/3 of an inning before being pulled.

Collins said that his long ball has just been from him getting aggressive at the plate and hitting the ball square on the barrel. He also said that the mid-season power surge is coming at the right time and that the Canes are going to continue to stay tough at the plate.

“I was just very aggressive tonight,” Collins said. “No matter who we have faced this season, this team has hit that pitcher hard and tonight was no different. We make adjustments and we have a lot of confidence. This has become the trademark of our team.”

Thompson praised the entire lineup for battling and getting the extra base hits to move the runners along. He said that he does not remember when UM has been this aggressive at the plate.

“Everyone has been hitting, one through nine,” Thompson said. “It is no secret that when we do that you are going to score a lot of runs.”

The Hokies scored three runs off of Suarez after the long fifth inning that the Canes had. He threw 32 pitches in the sixth inning when he threw 55 pitches the previous five innings.

“After a big inning like that, you typically want a 1-2-3 inning,” Morris said. “In a situation like that he just has to bear down and pitch well. He gave us a great game tonight up until that point.”

Backup quarterback Malik Rosier went 0-for-1 as a pinch hitter and stayed in the game and played right field.