University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes overcome errors to beat Florida Gulf Coast

The Hurricanes were far from mistake-proof Wednesday at Alex Rodriguez Park – three errors away to be exact.

But they were better than their opponents.

And despite all three of Florida Gulf Coast’s runs being unearned, here’s another Miami baseball nugget: The Canes equaled their 2013 regular-season win total with a 7-3 victory on a balmy night in Coral Gables.

Miami (35-14) finished 37-25 after the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference and NCAA regional.

The Hurricanes, ranked eighth by Baseball America and fifth by Collegiate Baseball, have won 22 of their past 24 games. They are still in sole possession of first place in the ACC with a 19-5 league record and down to their final six regular-season games of 2014 – all six against ACC opponents.

“It’s moving a lot faster than last year,’’ said UM coach Jim Morris. “Winning is a lot more fun.

On Wednesday, UM was led offensively by senior Tyler Palmer’s career-high tying three-hit night. Palmer’s single to left-center in the second inning brought home two runs to give UM a 3-0 lead. Alex Hernandez and Brandon Lopez each added two hits, with Lopez’s seventh-inning double scoring two to make it 7-3.

Hurricanes fans got an unexpected surprise when freshman Johnny Ruiz, who partially tore the labrum of his right throwing shoulder against Notre Dame on April 19, returned to pinch-hit in the third inning and replaced Laz Rivera at third base.

Ruiz was promptly hit in the leg to reach base and also singled and committed an error.

“The doctors had given me clearance to go and it was just a matter of timing,’’ Ruiz said. “I had a torn labrum in seventh grade, so that was the diagnosis. But it feels good and I should be ready to go this weekend.

“I don’t think surgery is a yes or a no yet. At this point, we’re still not sure. I’m going to play and see how it feels. At this point, I don’t think I’ll need it.’’

The Eagles (32-18) scored two in the third and one in the fifth but were held to five hits – three given up by starter Javi Salas, who allowed all three runs in 4 2/3 innings; and two given up by Thomas Woodrey, who earned the victory and raised his record to 4-0 with a 2.60 ERA.

UM travels to Durham this weekend for a three-game set at Duke (30-18, 15-9) and returns home to Mark Light Field from May 15-17 to end the regular season against North Carolina (29-19, 13-11).

“We’ve got to keep winning, Morris said. “It’s not how you drive, but how you arrive.

“It’s getting close to the [NCAA] tournament. We’ve got to play well and get a seed and hopefully get a regional and hopefully win that and get a super regional.

“That’s our goal right now and we’ve got to finish really, really strong to make that happen.’’