Miami hands Gators 1st loss of season

CORAL GABLES- Three Miami pitchers combined to strike out 13 Florida batters as the ninth ranked Hurricanes whipped the Gators 8-4 at Mark Light Stadium on Friday night. Starter Eric Erickson pitched 6.2 innings and allowed four hits and four earned runs, while striking out nine.

Florida starter Kyle Mullaney (1-1) allowed eight hits and walked four. However, only one of those runs surrendered by the righthander was earned.

The Hurricanes scored four in the second inning. Left fielder Dave DiNatale led off the inning when he was plunked by a Mullaney 1-1 offering. He stole second and scored on an error when second baseman Clayton Pisani failed to scoop up a ground ball hit by Adam Severino. Blake Tekotte ripped a single up the gut scoring Severino. Jemile Weeks then followed with a two-run home run to left field to give Miami a 4-0 lead.

Miami added three more runs in the fifth. With one out, Severino drew a walk on a full count. Jackson then doubled down the left field line scoring Severino. He advanced to third on a throwing error by Cole Figueroa.

Florida head coach Kevin O’Sullivan went to his bullpen and called on Clint Franklin who was greeted by a double courtesy of Jason Hagerty, which scored Jackson. Hagerty later scored on a wild pitch to stake the Hurricanes lead to 7-0.

The Gators (5-1) finally got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth. Third baseman Jon Townsend walked on four consecutive pitches. He moved to third when catcher Hampton Tignor doubled to the gap in right-center field. Pinch hitter Munroe lifted a singled to the mound, scoring Townsend. Pisani reached on a fielder’s choice. However, a throwing error by Mark Sobolewski allowed Tignor to score and Munroe to move to second. Miami’s lead was cut down to 7-2.

Right fielder Jonathan Pigott added to the Gators run production with a two-run home run to left-center to close the gap to 7-4.

The Hurricanes added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth.

The 1-4 hitters for Florida (Avery Barnes, Clayton Pisani, Cole Figueroa, and Brandon McArthur) combined to go 0-14 on the evening. Meanwhile, Miami’s top four in the lineup went 6-14.

Erickson picked up the win for Miami (4-0). The teams will meet tomorrow at Mark Light Stadium. The Gators are expected to send righthander Patrick Keating (1-0).