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.
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“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).