Canes Win, 6-2

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The ‘Canes baseball team finally remembered what it was like to win a game. And even though it didn't come easy, it was a welcomed feeling by all as Miami knocked off Virginia Commonwealth 6-2 in their first game of the Coral Gables Regional at Mark Light Field Friday night.

The ‘Canes (39-17-1) will play Mississippi State, a 13-2 winner over Florida Atlantic in the early game, at 7 p.m. tonight.

VCU (33-21) will face FAU in an elimination game at 3 p.m. The winner of that game will play the loser of UM-MSU Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m.

But Friday, it was the Ricky Orta show.

Orta, who started the season off with some quality performances, struggled down the stretch and had not won a game in almost two months.

Against VCU, Orta, who improved to 7-5, was locating his cutter getting a lot of ground ball outs. He didn't give up his first hit until the fourth inning and finished the game pitching six innings, giving up four hits, and one run, while striking out seven and walking one.

"Early in the game I was expecting the umps to have a strict strike zone, so I really wanted to get ahead of the hitters," Orta said. "I was able to do that and my teammates got me some early runs and that really made it easier. My cutter was working tonight. It feels good to win again."

While the ‘Canes scored six runs, they did so in a rather unconventional way, but doing so early gave them a cushion they hadn't felt in three weeks having lost six straight coming into the game, the longest such streak in 39 years.

Danny Figueroa, who was 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI, singled in the first and advanced to second on a throwing error by pitcher Harold Mozingo on an attempted pickoff. Paco Figueroa followed with a walk. After John Jay bunted them over to second and third, Danny scored on a wild pitch giving the ‘Canes a 1-0 lead.

Danny Valencia walked putting runners at the corners. He attempted a steal of second and Paco took home on the throw for a double steal.

"When we aren't hitting, we have to find a way to score runs," Danny Figueroa said. "My job is to get on base and kick start the line up. I was glad to be able to do that tonight. We needed the win."

Ryan Braun and Valencia helped the cause in the fourth when Braun smoked a Mozingo inside fastball over the left field wall.

Two batters later, Valencia planted a Mozingo pitch over the right field wall to give the ‘Canes a commanding 4-0 lead, especially the way Orta was pitching.

"It is great to get a win tonight, especially going into a big game tomorrow against a quality opponent in Mississippi State," Braun said.

While the ‘Canes got back in the win column, VCU was more so simply happy to be playing in the Coral Gables Regional.

"We were trying to lull them to sleep early," VCU coach Paul Keyes said. "You don't have room for error against UM. They pitched real well and we seemed a bit tight swinging at pitches off the plate."

"Their catcher (Eddy Rodriguez) is the best catcher we've seen all year," Keyes said. "We wanted to run, but didn't because of him. He's outstanding. But I can't be disappointed in my team. I am very proud of my team."

Rodriguez also went 2-for-4 at the plate and scored a run.

But the ‘Canes have other things in mind like the Bulldogs tomorrow as staff ace Cesar Carrillo takes the mound for the ‘Canes against Mississippi State's Todd Doolittle.

Carrillo who opened the season 12-0 has lost his last two decisions and will be trying to get back on track, something his teammates expect.

"Who better to have on the mound tomorrow than Cesar," Figueroa said.

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