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The No. 18 Miami Hurricanes finished out their season series with Florida Atlantic University in impressive fashion on Tuesday night, taking their midweek match-up over the visiting Owls by a final score of 3-1.
Powered by a 10-strikeout performance from midweek starter Javi Salas, the Hurricanes (27-14, 12-9 ACC) cruised to their ninth win in the past 11 tries over FAU at Alex Rodriguez Park. With his stellar showing on the hill, the Coral Gables native became the first Hurricane to strike out 10 batters all season, and the most recent since fellow starter Steven Ewing did so against Bethune-Cookman in 2011.
Though the Owls opened the game scoring in the game's first inning, Salas (5-2) would buckle down over the next five frames before his outing was ended at 94 pitches. The sophomore righthander went to a three-ball count only three times in the game, striking out two of those batters while walking the other for his sole free pass of the night. Salas scattered six hits over the outing but only one for extra bases, lowering his ERA to an impressive 2.56 in the process.
The Hurricanes struck for back-to-back runs in the third and fourth innings to gain a 2-1 lead. After junior Alex San Juan opened the third inning with his first career hit (a double down the left field line), the Canes used some smallball to plate their first run. After San Juan advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Garrett Kennedy, Tyler Palmer connected on a groundout to the shortstop that looked like a potential out at the plate. San Juan made a perfect slide around the tag, however, snagging home with his left hand to tie the game up at one run apiece.
Brad Fieger's RBI double in the fourth inning proved to be an early difference-maker in the contest. After Rony Rodriguez connected on a big rip down the left field line, Fieger's opposite-field, two-out hit plated Rodriguez to give the Canes a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish.
Chris Diaz, Eric Nedeljkovic and AJ Salcines combined for an impressive three innings in relief, allowing only one hit and one walk combined. Salcines earned the save for his 1.1 innings of work to close out the game, one that was ended on a terrific grab from rightfielder Julian Santos. Michael Broad tacked on an insurance run on a solo shot belted over the left field fence in the eighth, his second homerun in as many games, helping guide the Hurricanes to a 3-1 finish.
The No. 18 Hurricanes return to action on Saturday, opening up a big series with Coastal Division foe Virginia at home at Alex Rodriguez Park. First pitch on Saturday is set for 1 p.m.