CORAL GABLES, Fla. – No. 11 Miami opened its 2014 midweek schedule in disappointing fashion Wednesday, dropping a 5-2 decision to FAU at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
After struggling to generate any offense for the game’s first six innings, Miami battled its way back to a one-run deficit at 3-2 by the top of the seventh. But the Owls followed up the Miami rally with an RBI double from shortstop Stephen Kerr that was mishandled by the Canes defense, as FAU regained its late three-run lead and protected it the rest of the way.
The Hurricanes (2-2) loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom half of the inning, but came up empty. FAU’s Reilly Monkman and Bo Logan combined to Miami off the board for the final 3.0+ innings, earning the team’s third straight victory.
“We didn’t play the game well offensively or defensively,” head coach Jim Morris said. “That’s discouraging. I felt if we played well, we should have and could have won. But we didn’t.”
The visiting Owls (3-1) wasted little time in jumping out to a lead, as a two-run home run from first baseman Ricky Santiago off senior righthander Javi Salas (0-1) in the bottom of the first made it 2-0. FAU would tack on a run in the third, as a surprise bunt single from Tyler Rocklein with runners on the corners scored Kerr from third.
“I threw a hanging curveball, and he put a good swing on it,” Salas said of the home run. “That’s the nature of the game. You make a bad pitch, and you pay for it. That’s what happened.”
Salas did well to avoid any further damage, as a heads-up play from catcher Garrett Kennedy caught Rocklein at first and Santiago struck out swinging to end the threat.
Miami was unable to string any offense together off FAU starter Brandon Rhodes (1-0), who did not allow a hit until Tyler Palmer’s fourth-inning single to rightfield. Rhodes threw 5.2 innings, striking out five Hurricane batters and allowing just four hits.
The Hurricanes sixth-inning rally saw senior outfielder Dale Carey and Palmer record back-to-back doubles to open the Miami behind 3-1. An RBI single from David Thompson scored Palmer to make it 3-2, while freshman Zack Collins reached via error to put runners on the corners.
Monkman, entering in relief of Rhodes, got Brad Fieger on an infield pop-up to end any further potential.
Miami’s top of the order, comprised of Carey, Palmer and Thompson, combined for five of the team’s eight hits. Freshman outfielder Willie Abreu went 2-for-2 as a pinch hitter.
“We didn’t hit the ball well again today,” Thompson said. “We’ve played one good game so far as a team, and we need to play better.”
Miami returns to Mark Light Field for a marquee weekend series against No. 16 Florida beginning Friday. First pitch for the opener is set for 7 p.m.
SOURCE: Miami Athletics