Miami Wins 9-6 on Walk-Off Homer

Junior Kevin Howard completed a 4-for-5 outing by hitting a walk-off three-run homer off Long Beach State reliever Daniel Eisentrager in the ninth handing the Hurricanes (19-18) a 9-6 victory over No. 13 Long Beach State (24-11) in front of 1,684 fans Friday night at Mark Light Stadium.

In the bottom of the ninth with one out, Danny Figueroa singled up the middle. Javy Rodriguez recorded the second out with a fly to centerfield. Danny Matienzo followed with a single to left field. On a 1-and-2 count Howard then took Eisentrager (5-3) deep over the wall in right center for the win.

The walk-off home run was Howard's second of the season, including a solo shot in a 7-6 win over Minnesota on Feb. 17.

Closer George Huguet (5-1) earned the win in relief, going the final 2.0 innings with two hits, one walk and two strikeouts.

Both starters took no-decision in the game as UM's Dan Touchet went 6.0 innings with five hits, four earned runs, two walks and four strikeouts in 90 pitches, while his Long Beach State counterpart Abe Alvarez went 5.0 innings with seven hits, four runs (three earned), two walks and two strikeouts in 84 pitches.

Alvarez was relieved to start the sixth inning by Chris Demaria, who allowed the Hurricanes to regain the lead, 6-4, during the inning. The 49ers would come back on Miami's bullpen in the eighth to tie the game at 6-6.

Long Beach State tied the game, 6-6, in the eighth with two runs off one hit. Andrew Cohn started the inning and allowed a walk to Jeremy Reed and hit Kevin Randel. Huguet then entered and Nick Covarrubias laid down a successful bunt to load the bases. The first run came in, Reed, on Paul McAnulty's double-play ground out, with Randel moving to third. Brad Davis followed with a single that trickled past the first baseman to allow the tying run to score.

In the sixth, Jim Burt led off with a double to left field and advanced to third on Erick San Pedro's sacrifice bunt. Paco Figueroa put runners on the corners as he was hit by a Demaria pitch. Burt would then score on the next at bat when Brad Safchik hit a RBI single by the second baseman playing in, with Figueroa moving to third on the play. He would then score on Danny Figueroa's sacrifice fly to left field.

Long Beach State had tied the game, 4-4, in the top of the fifth on Jeremy Reed's full-count, two-out two-run homer to left field off Touchet. The home run also scored Adam Heether, who was hit by a pitch two batters earlier.

Long Beach State came back with one run in the fourth, 4-2, on Mike Hofius' sacrifice fly RBI to left field scoring Covarrubias from third.

Miami went ahead, 4-1, in the third on Danny Matienzo's sacrifice fly RBI to left field that scored Javy Rodriguez from third. Rodriguez earlier walked then stole second and third.

The Hurricanes answered in the bottom of the second, 3-1, scoring three runs on three hits, including a Haas Pratt two-run shot to left center. After Kevin Howard singled to left center with one out, Pratt took an Alvarez 2-0 pitch over the wall to put Miami ahead, 2-1. Jim Burt followed with a double and then scored off a fielding error by the Long Beach State shortstop off San Pedro's fielder's choice grounder.

The 49ers opened the scoring, 1-0, in the second inning on Chris Wright's RBI single to right field scoring McAnulty from third. McAnulty had doubled and moved to third on Hofius' ground out.

Miami and Long Beach State continue the series on Saturday at 7 p.m., with the series conclusion coming on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games can be heard over the Internet at or on the student voice of the Hurricanes, WVUM 90.5 FM. The Saturday game will also be televised on tape delay by Fox Sports Net Florida at 10 p.m. the same evening. UM's Spanish Broadcast on WACC 830 AM Radio Paz will also broadcast the Saturday evening game.

This Saturday's game against Long Beach State will also be the National Championship Commemorative Mini-Bat Giveaway. The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a free Limited Edition National Championship Commemorative Mini-bat, courtesy of Fuddruckers.

Game two with Long Beach State will also start "Sweet Swing Saturdays". Beginning this weekend all fans attending Saturday night games at Mark Light Stadium will be eligible to participate in the Sweet Swing Saturdays promotion that has the lucky winner getting an all expense paid trip to the University of Miami vs. Tennessee football game in Knoxville this upcoming season.

Following Long Beach State, Miami travels to No. 12 North Carolina for a three-game series with the Tar Heels at Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill. Game times are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday night. The Sunday game time has been changed to 1 p.m. from an original 2 p.m. start.

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