Miami Bounces Back, Wins 17-4

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - After Miami struggled to take advantage of runners in scoring position in the opening game of the series versus Elon—stranding 16 runners, Miami's bats came alive when it counted most Saturday night.

Miami pounded Elon (5-3) for 17 runs on 16 hits as they evened the series with a 17-4 win at Mark Light Field in front of a crowd of 2,270.

All but one batter reached base in the first inning as Miami exploded to take a 10-0 lead on seven hits in the first inning—the most runs scored in an inning by UM since 1999.

With the win, Miami (5-5) avoided having their worst start through ten games during coach Jim Morris's 14-year tenure at UM.

"We got the bats going tonight and that was important," Morris said. "We got some confidence offensively today and that helps."

Lefty pitcher Eric Erickson and third baseman Mark Sobolewski, a pair of freshmen who were high school teammates at Sarasota High last year, paced Miami to Saturday night's win.

Erickson pitched a solid five-innings in his first career start for UM in which he allowed 1-run and five-hits while striking out six batters.

"I was excited about my first start today," Erickson. "We got ahead early tonight and I had a big lead. I had to fight to keep my concentration up because we had such a big lead, but I did the best I could and I am glad I got the win."

Erickson's move to the starting rotation has strengthened Miami's bullpen by pushing senior pitcher Danny Gil to the closer role. Gil was Miami's closer as a freshman in 2004, recording five saves after becoming the closer in mid-April.

"Danny is our closer now," Morris said. "He has done that before and our bullpen was struggling so we decided to make Erickson a part of the rotation and put Danny in a role he is familiar with. Had it been a one-run game Danny would have thrown tonight."

The offense was led by the scorching bat of Sobolewski, who hit 3-for-5, two doubles and driving in 6-runs Saturday.

In the last three games, Sobolewksi has been on a tear, hitting .643 while driving in a total of 13-runs in the last three games.

Sobolewski believes his recent hitting success can be attributed to moving back to playing third base—his natural position defensively. Sobolewski has been the starting third basemen since the final game of the Florida series—the game his hitting tear began.

"I think playing in the infield has put me in a better rhythm defensively and I think it helps my rhythm with hitting too," Sobolewski said. "I definitely think I am a better hitter when I am playing the position I am comfortable with in the field"

"Erickson and Sobolewski both come from a great high school program," Morris said. "They were both all-americans in high school who led their team to a state championship. We expect them to be great players for us this year."

Miami scored four-runs in the third-inning, with three runs coming off a triple by freshman pinch hitter Kevin Diego, who advanced to home-plate on a wild throw from the outfield.

All but two of the Hurricanes starters were replaced in the fourth inning as UM cruised to a comfortable 14-0 lead en route to the victory.

Jonathan Weislow, Kevin Diego, and Ben Vazquez all received their first at-bats of the season. Diego finished the game 2-for-5 with two RBI and one run. First baseman Chris Petralli also got playing time going 2-for-2, hitting one double and scoring one-run.

"It is always good to give some guys a chance to play," Morris said. "By the end of the year you don't know what our team is going to look like because of injuries and whatever can happen between now and then. It is good to get guys some experience."

Miami will play Elon today at 1 p.m. as lefty Manny Miguelez will take the mound in a crucial game that will decide who wins the series.

"Our goal is always to sweep the series at home and win the series on the road," Morris said. "We need to win tomorrow in order to take the series tomorrow. It is a very important game. We can't let people come in our house and win a series."

David Lake can be reached at lake@canestime.com

Canes Time Top Stories