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After a five-year hiatus, the No. 12 Miami Hurricanes renewed one of the more historic in-state rivalries at Alex Rodriguez Park, winning their midweek contest with the visiting Stetson Hatters by a final score of 3-2.
The Hurricanes, who faced the Hatters for the 151st time on Wednesday night, had a difficult time hitting anything off freshman righthander Josh Powers, who rendered the Canes offensive ineffective through the game's first three innings. But after connecting on two homeruns in the game's middle stages, the Hurricanes eked out a 3-2 victory.
Even after opening its hitting line with back-to-back singles from Chantz Mack and Brad Fieger in the fourth frame, Miami could not convert, stranding both runners after a fly-out from Stephen Perez and a groundout from Michael Broad. In the next inning, however, freshman infielder Jarred Mederos provided an unlikely offensive surge for a lineup in need.
The Hialeah, Fla. native connected on his first career homerun in orange and green, depositing a ball into the net in left field to tie the game at one run apiece. Mederos, who has become a regular in Head Coach Jim Morris' lineups in his first season in Coral Gables, atoned for an error earlier in the game that helped Stetson take a 1-0 advantage. The Hatters struck first off Hurricanes righthander Javi Salas, who was strong once again in his new role as midweek starter. After Stetson second baseman Robert Crews reached on an error on a routine groundball mishandled by Mederos, catcher Sam Kimmel connected on an infield single down the third base line. Salas would record two consecutive outs on a fielder's choice and pop-up before allowing the first of two RBI's to Mitchel Brennan on a single through the left side, as Stetson took a 1-0 lead.
The Hurricanes struck for their first lead of the night in the next inning, however, responding with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. After first baseman Esteban Tresgallo followed up Mederos' solo shot with a single up the middle, Hatters Head Coach Pete Dunn pulled Powers in favor of senior Jake Boyd.
The veteran didn't fare much better than his freshman counterpart, however, allowing a wild pitch immediately upon his entrance to advance the runner to second. The miscue would prove costly, as freshman catcher Garrett Kennedy advanced Tresgallo to third with a sacrifice bunt. Tyler Palmer then drove him in with an RBI single ripped through the left side to give the Hurricanes their first lead of the night at 2-1.
After the Hatters struck back to tie the game in the next half-inning, it was junior shortstop and Mederos' middle infield partner Stephen Perez who put on an impressive display of power. Perez belted his third homerun of the year just over the wall in left field off reliever Will Dorsey, giving the Hurricanes a 3-2 advantage.
Relievers Chris Diaz, Eric Nedeljkovic and AJ Salcines combined for 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit while striking out four batters combined. The staff did not walk a single Stetson batter through nine innings of work, as Salcines picked up his second save of the season in relief.