CORAL GABLES — Miami junior Dave DiNatale delivered a tie-breaking two-run double as part of a three-run seventh inning to lift the eighth-ranked Hurricanes (5-0) to an 8-5 victory over Florida (5-2) Saturday night in front of a sellout crowd at Mark Light Stadium. Miami trailed by three runs twice during the contest and capitalized on a season-high five Gator errors to clinch its first regular-season series triumph over the Orange and Blue since the 2004 campaign. Junior reliever Jason Santana (1-0) threw 3.1 scoreless innings to collect the win and junior Carlos Gutierrez registered three strikeouts over the final 1.2 frames to pocket his third save.
(UF SID office contributed to this report)
After not having a base runner until the sixth inning on Friday, the Gators loaded the sacks with two down in the top of the first against senior Enrique Garcia but came away empty-handed. Sophomore Clayton Pisani (Naples, FL) drew a one-out walk and classmate Cole Figueroa (Tallahassee, FL) (2-for-5, three RBI) followed with a single up the middle. A fielder’s choice by senior Brandon McArthur (Seffner, FL) forced Pisani at third and sophomore Matt den Dekker (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) beat out an infield hit to fill the sacks. Garcia then struck out senior Dustin Bamberg (Winter Haven, FL) to end the frame.
Florida jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second on a two-run single by Pisani and an RBI grounder by Figueroa. Freshman Josh Adams (Jacksonville, FL) looped a single into right field to start things off and stole second before sophomore Jonathan Pigott (Ormond Beach, FL) earned a free pass. Sophomore Hampton Tignor (Sarasota, FL) sacrificed his teammates into scoring position with a bunt and junior Avery Barnes (High Springs, FL) walked to load the bases. Pisani stroked a 2-0 pitch into right to break the ice and give UF its first lead of the series. Figueroa followed with a ground ball to short that brought Barnes across with the third run.
Miami countered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning on two hits and an error to trail by a run. Sophomore Jason Hagerty walked with one down and junior Blake Tekotte legged out a bunt single. A fielding miscue on the play by McArthur at first base enabled Hagerty to score and Tekotte to occupy third. Junior Jemile Weeks delivered an RBI single to bring UM within 3-2 and junior Patrick Keating (Harrisburg, IL) had junior Yonder Alonso pop up before committing a balk to move the runner into scoring position. Soon after, the right-hander had sophomore Mark Sobolewski ground out.
UF expanded its advantage to 5-2 the next inning on a two-run base-knock into left center by Figueroa. Pigott was hit by a pitch to lead off and was sacrificed over on Tignor’s second bunt of the game. Barnes lined a single into left to give the visitors runners on the corners and stole second base on strike three to Pisani. Figueroa connected on Garcia’s next offering to drive in senior pinch runner Jon Townsend (London, KY) and Barnes to chase the right-hander from the contest. Garcia worked 3.2 innings, allowing six hits and five runs, with three walks and three strikeouts.
The Gators put their first two runners aboard in the fifth, as den Dekker walked and Bamberg notched his initial hit of the season. Adams was unable to lay down a bunt, forcing den Dekker at third, and Santana worked out of the jam by fanning Townsend and having Tignor ground out.
Helped by consecutive fielding errors by Pisani to begin the bottom of the stanza, Miami narrowed the gap to 5-4 on a two-run double by Alonso. Hagerty and Tekotte reached because of the mistakes and Weeks walked to fill the bags. Alonso smoked a two-bagger into left to plate a pair of unearned runs and prompt a pitching change. Sophomore Billy Bullock (Balm, FL) came out of the bullpen and had Sobolewski line out to Figueroa, who speared the ball and threw over to Townsend to double off Weeks. The righty blew away freshman Joey Terdoslavich on three pitches to preserve the tenuous one-run lead.
The Hurricanes erupted for three runs on three hits and seized a 7-5 lead in the seventh on DiNatale’s first double of the year. Tekotte opened with a walk and Weeks reached on a bunt to give the hosts a pair of runners on base. Sophomore Tony Davis (Cooper City, FL) was summoned from the bullpen to replace Bullock (1-1, 2.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R) and threw one pitch — a pop-up in foul territory by Alonso that Townsend snagged. Sobolewski tied the game with an RBI single off senior Josh Edmondson (LaGrange, GA) and a fielding error by Barnes left UM with
runners on second and third. Following an intentional walk to Terdoslavich that loaded the bases, DiNatale smashed a 3-2 pitch into right center to break the stalemate. Another intentional walk to junior Adan Severino filled the bases again and Edmondson kept the Gators down by a couple of runs by having sophomore Ryan Jackson pop up and induced a grounder by Hagerty to force the runner at second thanks to a diving stop by Townsend.
UM tacked on an insurance run in the eighth when Tekotte came racing home on a wild pitch by junior J.K. LaCoste (Jacksonville, FL). Tekotte had led off by reaching on Barnes’ second error and scored his fourth run of the game with two down. The Hurricanes held a 9-8 advantage in hits, as Alonso (2-for-5, two RBI) and Weeks (2-for-4) turned in multiple-hit outings. Florida will look to salvage the finale of the series tomorrow at 1 p.m., when freshman RHP Tommy Toledo (Tampa, FL) (1-0, 3.60) opposes Miami freshman left-hander Chris Hernandez
(1-0, 0.00). The game will be carried live on CSS.