University of Miami

Zach Collins stays hot at plate as Miami Hurricanes rout Manhattan in baseball

Special to the Miami Herald

Zach Collins
Zach Collins

Pitchers might want to try to bust Zach Collins inside.

Collins, the Miami Hurricanes’ junior catcher, has three homers in three games in the past week — all to the opposite field.

His two-run blast on Saturday night capped a five-run third inning as sixth-ranked UM (8-2) snapped a scoreless tie and rolled to a 14-4 win over visiting Manhattan (1-4).

The Canes won their third game in a row and clinched the Manhattan series ahead of Sunday’s 1 p.m. finale.

“It was an outside fastball, first pitch,” Collins said. “I’m just hitting where it’s pitched. If they do throw an inside pitch and they miss a little bit middle, I’m going to pull it.”

Collins, a lefty hitter and a projected first-round pick in the 2016 MLB draft, is batting .407 this season with three homers and 12 RBI. He has a .600 on-base average and a .741 slugging percentage.

He went 2 for 2 with a walk and three RBI on Saturday, showing that he can hit the ball where it’s pitched.

“He used to be a dead-pull hitter,” UM coach Jim Morris said. “He’s worked on it. He hit every ball in [batting practice on Saturday] to left field, and the ball is carrying that way.”

Collins hopes to soon take his place among major-league catchers to make the majors out of the Miami program, a list that includes Yasmani Grandal, Peter O’Brien and the retired Charles Johnson.

Collins’ offense on Saturday supported sophomore left-hander Mike Mediavilla (3-0, 1.06 ERA), who also benefited from left fielder Jacob Heyward’s defensive gem, stealing a would-be home run.

Mediavilla struck out the first four batters he faced but had to settle for a solid outing instead of what seemed like would be a spectacular one. He threw 106 pitches in six innings, allowed four hits and two runs, one earned.

He struck out five, but he struggled with his control, throwing a wild pitch and tying a career high with four walks.

“I think he got a little tired at the end,” Morris said. “Sometimes it’s hard to pitch when you have a big lead.”

Mediavilla got out of a third-inning jam, stranding a runner on third with one out. He got Brendan Bisset on a comebacker and struck out Santisteban after falling behind 3-1. Santisteban, a senior from Miami Gulliver, took strike three on a curve ball.

In the fourth, Heyward raced to the left field corner to rob Matt Forlow of a home run.

But Mediavilla lost his shutout bid in the sixth when he allowed a sacrifice fly by Chris Reynolds. Manhattan then scored an unearned run off of Mediavilla.

Miami led 11-2 after six innings and coasted from there.

Besides Santisteban, Manhattan had four other players from Miami-Dade County in Saturday’s starting lineup: freshman DH Fabian Pena (Calusa Prep); junior shortstop Jose Carrera (St. Brendan); sophomore third baseman Anthony Rondon (Mater Academy Lakes); and sophomore first baseman Ryan Gronlier (Doral Academy).

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