Coral Gables, FL – The Miami Hurricanes nabbed the series Sunday, winning 7-1 as Evan McKendry put together another strong showing versus the Maine Black Bears less than 12 hours after emerging victorious in a 15-inning thriller.
Most of today’s starters were in last night’s six-hour marathon that saw Maine mount a comeback in the ninth, sending the contest deep into extras.
Miami got things started in the fourth with second basemen Willy Escala getting a base hit followed by not one but two straight steals, positioning himself just 90 feet away from home. With two outs, fellow freshman Isaac Quinones drew a walk for teammate Tony Jenkins. Back in the second, Jenkins grounded out to short with the bases loaded but he would redeem himself here with a tremendous triple, emptying the bases and putting Miami out in front.
The bats stayed hot as Alex Toral, the hero of Saturday night, smacked a bases-loaded single, adding UM’s third run and knocking out Black Bears starter Chris Murphy (0-2 23.40 ERA). Despite the new pitcher, the Canes weren’t finished yet as Quinones brought in some more cushion with his second double of the year, putting the Hurricanes in a commanding 6-1 lead.
Maine threatened several times in the game, taking a 1-0 lead after the first frame.
In the second inning after striking out two in a row, a high pop-fly to right was bobbled by Dylan Cloonan as the runner advanced to second on the error. McKendry struck out Christopher Bec to get out of the inning. The right-hander would find himself in some slight trouble again in the third, hitting the lead-off man and walking the next batter. The sophomore settled back down and struck out left-fielder Colin Ridley before retiring the next two players, including a nice catch by Cloonan in foul territory.
The fifth was more of the same after a triple by senior Brandon Vicens with two outs and nobody on. The Black Bears were unable to convert as Ridley fouled out near the visitor’s dugout. The visitors had one last hurrah in the ninth, with runners on second and third, only to be turned away for good.
McKendry ended the beautiful afternoon with 10 Ks, sprinkling five hits while giving up just one run in six innings of work.
— Lemon City Live (@LemonCityLive) March 4, 2018
Quinones finished the day going 1-for-2 scoring 4 and drawing two walks. He was the player of the game.
Jenkins went 2-for-5 including the triple, bagging 2 RBIs.
Maine won the opening game Friday (6-1), overwhelming Miami’s bullpen in the last two innings scoring all six of their runs. The boys from the south answered back in game 2 thanks to both Freddy Zamora doubling to left to tie the game and Toral’s walk-off single to right.
The Canes lead the overall series 66-13, going back to April 1, 1976, where the team won the inaugural meeting 3-1. When playing at home, the team is a dominant 53-6 against the Black Bears.
Stat of the Game
The game could’ve been a real shootout as both teams each stranded 14 runners on base for an eye-popping total of 28.
The Hurricanes will travel to FIU to renew their rivalry Wednesday night before hosting ACC foe Notre Dame next weekend. They will try to avenge a 3-1 series loss to the Panthers last year, in the first of two games this season. Miami is currently ranked #24 in the nation according to USA Today Coaches Poll.
Did you know
Sophomore Evan McKendry was named ACC Pitcher of the Week after helping UM hand the Florida Gators their first loss of the season (A shutout too) on February 25th, Going 6-deep he didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning. It’s the second straight week a Canes player has been named with Danny Reyes selected as ACC Co-Player of the Week, the week before. He batted .727 opening weekend against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. For McKendry, the honor is the first of his career. And hopefully not the last.
For a complete photo gallery of this game, please CLICK HERE.