UM Holds On For Victory

The University of Miami baseball team has grown accustomed to putting a serious hurt on opposing pitchers as of late. The Hurricanes arrived at Mark Light Field Wednesday night sporting a team batting average of .337 and scoring an average of over 11 runs a game since Feb. 27, more than enough for a seven-game winning streak.

Miami was at it again against Campbell - even if the batting average is going to take a slight dip. Despite managing just six hits the Hurricanes (12-3), ranked No. 6 by Baseball America, extended their winning streak to eight games with a 10-8 victory over the Fighting Camels (8-7) in front of 1,231. It was the fewest hits Miami has reached in a double-digit run total win since May 11, 2001 against Florida Southern when they collected 12 runs on eight hits.

UM freshman left fielder Jon Jay was 2 for 3 with an RBI and run scored to lead the Canes offense. But UM committed four errors, including three by Richard Giannotti. Giannotti replaced Jay to start the seventh inning.

"It wasn't one of our best performances, that's for sure," said UM coach Jim Morris. "We got real sloppy there at the end and it almost cost us."

As it turned out the Hurricanes would need every run. Down 9-1 in the top of the seventh Campbell scored six runs on six hits off three different pitchers. Nic Ewing had an RBI single off Miami's Chiqui Chirino to score Nate Logan. A run-scoring single by Joe Anthosen brought Ewing home and sent Chirino to the showers. UM reliever Ricky Orta gave up three consecutive RBI singles before Alex Blanco picked up the final out of the inning.

Miami right-hander Vince Bongiovanni (2-0) gave the Hurricanes six solid innings, allowing one run on four hits. Bongiovanni, who retired 10 of the last 14 batters he faced, recorded four strikeouts and did not issue a walk during the 81-pitch effort. The 6-5 junior allowed just one base runner to reach second base in his final four innings of work. Senior George Huguet notched his save of the season despite allowing a run in the ninth.

"I had all my pitches working tonight and moving it in and out," said Bongiovanni, after going the longest of any UM starting pitcher this season. "I felt comfortable all night long. I knew we would pull it off - the guys did a nice job there at the end."

The Hurricanes posted a four-spot in the fourth inning on just one hit. Jay, who entered the game with a team-leading .385 batting average, doubled off Campbell reliever Grant Price to open the inning. Price then walked Joey Hooft and Ryan Braun before hitting Jim Burt with a pitch, scoring Jay. After a wild pitch plated Hooft and pass ball scored Burt, Braun came across on an error by Rispoli.

Miami erased an early deficit with a four-run bottom of the second as Campbell freshman pitcher Tyler Sexton encountered control problems. With one out UM's Brendan Katin doubled followed by walks to Erick San Pedro, Adam Ricks, and Paco Figueroa, tying the score 1-1.

Sexton hit Jon Jay with a pitch, scoring San Pedro, and Joey Hooft added an RBI groundout, bringing Ricks home. Figueroa later scored on a bases loaded walk. Sexton departed after just 1 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on one hit. Sexton walked four batters. Katin scored on a double play in the third to give UM a 5-1 lead.

Rispoli's solo homer over the left field scoreboard gave the Camels a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.

"You got a 9-1 lead in the seventh inning and let it slip away - that's not good," said Morris. "I was trying to empty the bench and get some of our younger guys in there. But we have to play better than that."

The Hurricanes haven't suffered a defeat since Feb. 26 against FIU. Miami hosts Rutgers in a three-game series, starting Friday. The Hurricanes are 5-6 against the Scarlet Knights since 2000.

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