University of Miami

Miami powers way to Game 1 win over Boston College in super regional

Miami infielder John Ruiz is greeted at home plate by teammates after hitting a grand slam in the eighth inning as the University of Miami hosts Boston College for NCAA Coral Gables Super Regional baseball series at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field on Fri., June 10, 2016
Miami infielder John Ruiz is greeted at home plate by teammates after hitting a grand slam in the eighth inning as the University of Miami hosts Boston College for NCAA Coral Gables Super Regional baseball series at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field on Fri., June 10, 2016 adiaz@miamiherald.com

First-rounder faced first-rounder in the third inning at Mark Light Field on Friday.

Zack Collins, the Chicago White Sox’s 10th overall pick from the University of Miami, took a first-pitch fastball from Justin Dunn, the New York Mets’ 19th overall pick from Boston College, and blasted it so far over the right-field fence that it hit the Ponce de Leon parking garage in the distance.

The home crowd erupted as Carl Chester (hard single), Randy Batista (bunt-single that died on the third-base line) and Collins rounded the bases for three runs, enough to ignite the third-ranked Hurricanes to a 12-7 victory in the first game of the super regional.

“I didn’t really look at it as two first-rounders going at each other,’’ said Dunn, whose home-run-yielding fastball was clocked at 97 miles an hour Friday. “ I went at it as two guys trying to go to Omaha.’’

“It was crazy,’’ Collins said. “I knew it right off the bat. Just to put my team ahead right there was an awesome feeling.’’

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No. 3 national seed Miami (49-11), which meets Boston College again at noon Saturday, is one victory from earning its 25th trip to the College World Series – its 13th since Jim Morris began coaching in Coral Gables in 1994.

Left-handed sophomore ace Michael Mediavilla pitched a masterful game in allowing three runs – two earned – on four hits and three walks in a career-high 7 2/3 innings in becoming Miami’s first 11-game winner since Chris Hernandez in 2008. Mediavilla (11-1, 3.11 ERA ) threw a career-high 123 pitches, 78 for strikes. He struck out seven.

“Pitching’s the name of the game and Mediavilla threw a great game,’’ Morris said. “Furthest he’s gone for us and most pitches he’s thrown for us. Just a big win for us.”

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BC catcher Nick Sciortino praised Mediavilla for confusing hitters with an impressive pitching repertoire. “He was definitely mixing up his pitches,’’ Sciortino said. “He has a great changeup. He was mixing his curveball when we were thinking fastball. He threw great. He kept our hitters off balance.”

Bartow relieved Mediavilla for the final out of the eighth, before Ryan Guerra came in to pitch the ninth.

Dunn lasted 5 1/3 innings in taking the loss. Dunn (4-2, 2.06) allowed five earned runs on six hits and two walks, as the Eagles fell to 34-21 in a game delayed two hours by rain and lightning.

Two batters after Collins’ blast, Johnny Ruiz hit a solo homer to right-center to make it 4-1 Miami.

Before Friday, Dunn had allowed just one homer all year. On this day he gave up two in three-at-bats.

“I was trying to execute a fast ball away to Zack and fastball in to Ruiz,’’ Dunn said. “They’re both good hitters. This whole team, a bunch of strong at-bats, one through nine. I made two mistakes and they hit them. It’s just baseball.”

But that wasn’t it for Ruiz. He wanted more. In the eighth, Ruiz added his first career grand slam to make it 12-3. After hitting two career homers entering the game, Ruiz hit two in five at-bats Friday.

Boston College opened the scoring on an unearned run in the first inning. After Michael Strem singled, a failed pickoff attempt by 6-5, 225-pound Mediavilla sailed past first baseman Chris Barr, advancing Strem to third. Nick Sciortino’s ground-out dribbler to third scored Strem, before left field Jacob Heyward made a diving, sliding catch to his left to end the inning.

The Eagles scored two runs in the fourth to cut Miami’s lead to 4-3, but the Canes wouldn’t quit, adding two in the sixth, one in the seventh and five in the eighth.

Boston College attempted to rally in the ninth with a one-out, three-run homer by Scott Braren against Guerra to make it 12-6. Devin Meyer came in to get the second out but also surrendered a bases-loaded-walk.

Enter UM career saves leader Bryan Garcia, who extended his record to 42 saves by striking out Donovan Casey with the bases loaded.

Should UM win its super regional, it would play the winner of the Mississippi State (44-17-1) vs. Arizona (43-21) super regional to begin the double-elimination College World Series. Mississippi State is the No. 6 national seed, but Arizona won 1-0.

“It’s awesome, but we can’t look too far ahead,’’ said Willie Abreu, who was drafted Friday in the sixth round by the Colorado Rockies and had three hits, including a double. “We’ve just got to worry about [Game 2] and worry about doing what we usually do in the field and staying within ourselves. If we take it at-bat by at-bat and inning by inning, we’re going to be OK.”

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