The University of Miami got off to a dream start, but could not hold on against No. 1 and defending national champion Florida on Friday night, falling in the rivalry series opener 7-3 at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
The The No. 24 Hurricanes tagged Gators’ ace and projected first-round MLB Draft pick Brady Singer for three runs on five hits in the first inning to take the early lead.
But Florida (6-0) clawed back, getting two runs in the second and two more in the fourth before padding to a slim lead in the seventh in front of 3,596 fans.
“I’m disappointed we didn’t win,” head coach Jim Morris said. “We jumped up 3-0, which I thought was huge, then we let them back in the game.”
Senior lefthander Jeb Bargfeldt (1-1) picked up the loss after allowing five runs in six innings. He surrendered nine hits, struck out three and walked one.
“Definitely not what I’m looking for,” Bargfeldt said of his performance. “I didn’t feel like I helped my team tonight.”
Singer (2-0) did not allow a run after the first. He fanned four and allowed nine hits in five innings.
Miami’s hot start was charged by an unlikely catalyst.
After a leadoff double from senior Michael Burns dropped in right-center, senior third baseman Michael Perez – making his first start in the field this season - smashed an 0-2 pitch from Singer well over the fence in left for the first home run of his career.
Perez was mobbed by his teammates at home plate to celebrate his first career homer.
“Emotions are high when you’re playing a team in-state,” Perez said. “You have a lot of pride and there’s a lot of history. You’re trying to make things happen. There’s a lot of emotion.”
Miami (2-3) wasn’t done there.
Perez, who tripled in his first start of the season Wednesday against Mizzou, finished the night 2-for-4.
Burns and Amditis both extended their season-opening hitting streaks to five straight games.
Trailing early, the Gators got a pair back on a two-run home run from Nick Horvath in the second inning.
▪ Nova Southeastern 3, Embry-Riddle 0: Dana Edmundson hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning to lead the Sharks (7-9, 2-2 SSC) over host Embry-Riddle. Lexie Storrer pitched a complete game, allowing one hit and striking out two, increasing her record to 5-7.
Gulfstream Park will increase overnight purses 10 percent beginning March 7 through the end of the Championship Meet on Sunday, April 1, it was announced Friday.
“We’re happy to provide this increase at Gulfstream due to our Championship Meet handle being up approximately 9 percent,” Gulfstream general manager Bill Badgett said. “The last five weeks of our championship meet will feature some incredible races, including the $400,000 Fountain of Youth, $200,000 Davona Dale and $200,000 Inside Information, and, of course, Florida Derby Day, with seven stakes and the $1 million Florida Derby.”
▪ FIU 69, North Texas 68: Eric Lockett’s free throw with 4.8 seconds left lifted the Panthers (12-16, 6-9 Conference USA) over the visiting the Mean Green (14-14, 7-8) late Thursday night to snap a three-game losing streak.