Canes Complete Sweep over UCLA

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - At 6-foot-3 and 218-pounds, opposing teams would expect sophomore outfielder Dennis Raben to beat them with his power hitting—not his speed.

But it was Raben's fleet feet, not his bat, that beat UCLA in Miami's 7-3 win Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied 2-2, Raben began the bottom of the sixth inning with a leadoff triple—the first of Raben's UM career—off the center field wall. Raben scored later in the inning off an RBI single from pinch-hitter Roger Tomas to give Miami a 3-2 lead.

"I can't believe that Raben got a triple before I did this season," centerfielder Blake Tekotte joked. "He definitely got a lucky bounce off the centerfield wall; that will probably never happen again." Then in the eighth inning with the game tied at 3-3, Raben scored the go-ahead run from third base on a pass ball thrown UCLA closer Brant Rustich as it tricked between catcher Ryan Babineau's legs.

"This offseason I had surgery on my toe, so I guess I gained a step since the fall," Raben said. "It was fun using my wheels to help the team win."

Miami played their most complete game of the season Sunday. After losing the opening home series for the first time since 1967 last week versus Mercer, Miami bounced back to sweep 11th ranked UCLA and improve their record to 3-2.

"I was very happy with how we played today," coach Jim Morris said. "We did all the little things it that it took to win. I thought Manny pitched well, we played good solid defense, and we hit the ball well—getting seven runs on nine hits is very productive."

Starting pitcher Manny Miguelez turned in an efficient seven innings on 78 pitches in which he allowed two runs, five hits, and just one walk while striking out two batters.

With strong pitching and help from the defense, Miguelez cruised through the first five innings, as he faced the minimum amount of batters possible—15.

"I was throwing all my pitches for strikes and forcing the hitters to get themselves out," Miguelez said. "I just let my defense work for me and I tried to get as much done as I could with my pitch count."

Miami scored first in the third inning on a sacrifice by Alonso, scoring Tekotte from third base, giving Miami a 1-0 lead.

Tekotte scored again in the fifth inning on an RBI by shortstop Ryan Jackson to extend Miami's lead 2-0. Tekotte finished 3-for-4, with 2 RBI and 3 runs on the day.

Miami had another scare from the bullpen Sunday when closer Enrique Garcia entered the game in the eighth inning and allowed for UCLA outfielder Justin Uribe to hit his first career home run over the left field wall, tying the game 3-3.

But in the eighth inning the Miami offense responded, as Raben pounded his second extra-base hit of the game with a double down the right field line with one out. After third baseman Gus Menendez was hit by a pitch, pinch-hitter Richard O'Brien loaded the bases with a line-drive single to right field—advancing Menendez and Raben to second and third base.

Later in the inning, with Hagerty on second base and pinch-runner Kevin Diego on third base, Tekotte ripped a single up the middle of the infield to score to runs and give Miami a 6-3 lead. Tekotte then scored from second on a single by Weeks to right field, making it a 7-3 game.

Garcia recovered in the ninth inning, only allowing one batter to reach base as he recorded his first win as a Hurricane.

David Lake can be reached at lake@canestime.com

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