Taking the short drive from Coral Gables, the Miami Hurricanes sent a massive statement and ended a four-game losing streak with a 5-2 win over the Florida Atlantic Owls on Wednesday night.
Miami, which hadn’t won since Feb. 18, scored first with a third-inning home run by center fielder Carl Chester. Hitting in the two spot despite a .182 average entering play, Chester crushed a 1-1 pitch from Marc Stewart over the left field wall.
UM freshman right-hander Gregory Veliz allowed five hits in four-plus innings before departing with two on and none out in the bottom of the fifth. FAU loaded the bases and tied the game at 1-1 when Stephen Kerr walked. A fielder’s choice by designated hitter Sean Labsan on the next play gave FAU a 2-1 lead.
“We had some opportunities to get some guys in the box, but just couldn’t do it,” FAU coach John McCormack said. “Credit goes to Miami, but we have to be better.”
Marc Stewart, making his first start of the year for the Owls, struck out six and allowed only one run through five innings, setting himself up to record the win.
FAU’s bullpen, however, fell apart in the seventh. Kyle Marman gave up three runs, with Eric Keating — a left-handed reliever who has struggled to start the year — giving up the fourth.
“Some of these guys haven’t played a lot of college baseball and hopefully, some of these almost-made plays will be made down the road,” McCormack said. “Marman is a sophomore who threw a couple innings last year; Keating is a sophomore who threw a few innings last year and some of those guys are going to have to learn how to mentally get through innings.”
After scoring double-digit runs in two of their first three games, the Owls’ offense continues to miss out on chances to score. Shortstop Tyler Frank, who entered play with a sizzling .556 average, went 1-for-4. Kevin Abraham, who is off to a hot start after missing all of last year as a result of chemotherapy, was the only Owl to record a multi-hit game.
Stephen Kerr would reach second base with a two-out double in the bottom of the ninth, but Miami sophomore Frankie Bartow retired Labsan to end the game, leaving the Owls with their fourth loss in the past five games.