Miami Hurricanes edge out Florida Gators 5-2 to open rivalry weekend


Miami, Florida – The No. 22 Miami Hurricanes took round 1 over the 14th ranked Florida Gators Friday night in their first big weekend series of the season. Carson Palmquist pitched a gem in front of a soldout crowd of 3,482 weaving five scoreless innings three hitting the Gators, punching out six.

With Florida sending out their ace Hunter Barco, fans were treated to an initial pitchers’ duel until the fourth inning when sophomore Yohandy Morales opened the scoring with a two-run blast to left. On the third week of the season, their inter-state rivals serve as the team’s first true test.

Long ball and small ball

Dorian Gonzalez Jr. got Miami’s first hit of the game, a single in the second. After three and a half scoreless frames, Morales broke the deadlock with his second dinger of 2022. The Canes had the chance to push across more with Maxwell Romero Jr. advancing to third on a wild pitch but Lorenzo Carrier struck out to end the inning.

Palmquist ran into trouble in the fifth. After retiring the first two batters he gave up a hit, grazed Colby Halter, and then walked Jud Fabian to load ’em. The lefty blazed one past Sterlin Thompson to get out of the bases-loaded jam preserving the 2-0 lead.

Walks were a problem for the Canes as the pitching staff issued eight free passes combined although they also bullied 12 to start the weekend.

That same inning Dominic Pitelli pulled off a tremendous heads-up play with some aggressive base running. Pitelli took a huge lead effectively moving halfway towards third when CJ Kayfus tapped the ball in front of the plate. Gators catcher Mac Guscette managed the throw to first for the out but was unable to get back in time as Pitelli snuck home making it 3-0 Hurricanes.

Miami scratched another run with Yoyo hitting a double as Jacob Burke crossed the dish scoring on the throw to the plate. The relay throw was in time but Guscette couldn’t hang onto the ball.

Stubborn opposition

The Gators threatened once more in the sixth.

Gage Ziehl came in for Palmquist walking the leadoff hitter. Although the 4-6-3 double play cleared the bases, Ziehl gave up two more walks before fanning pinch-hitter Kris Armstrong to escape.

Florida broke up the shutout in the seventh with an RBI single from Thompson making it 4-1. They chipped away at the lead with another run courtesy of a Wyatt Langford RBI single to left. Andrew Walters was brought in shutting down Josh Rivera leaving two runners in scoring position. The U knocked in an insurance run with Walters slamming the door in the ninth collecting his third save. Palmquist improved to 3-0 as a starter.

Closing Thoughts

As expected the Gators did not go away. There were a lot of strikeouts but also a lot of base on balls. Those walks really helped them stay in the game extending their innings at the plate. Luckily, the relievers were able to mitigate the damage on many potential rallies. The Gators stranded 12 runners frustrating their hitting. Regardless, that sort of struggle on the bullpen side won’t fly the rest of the weekend. Not if they want to sweep the Gators.

Hats off to Yoyo for the clutch over the wall touch ’em all bomb. It was a great statement win to kick off the 2022 edition of the long-standing rivalry. For those keeping score, the Hurricanes are ahead in the overall series 133-128 and have now won three in a row versus Florida.

Gus Bus Award

I gotta give this one to the southpaw. Palmquist dazzled again winning his third straight start of the season. His ERA is now a razor-sharp 1.17.

You’re Killing Me Smalls

Kayfus had a quiet night going hitless but he did record an RBI bringing in Pitelli during the fifth on the groundout. He’s hitting .343 so all is forgiven.

Photo | Canes Baseball

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