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The No. 19 Miami Hurricanes clinched their series over the visiting Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman on Saturday night, winning game two of their weekend set at Alex Rodriguez Park by a final score of 5-4.
With Steven Ewing bumped up one day early for the second straight week due to flu-like symptoms from normal starter Eric Whaley, the Hurricanes (29-17) looked to continue momentum from Friday night's 7-0 shutout victory. Aided by a big fifth inning where they struck for four of their five runs, Miami managed their second-straight win despite recording only two hits in the contest.
It was Bethune-Cookman who struck first on Saturday night, recording two more runs than they did all of Friday in the game's very first inning. After Josh Johnson reached on a fielding error from first baseman Esteban Tresgallo, Ewing allowed a bunt single to Brandon Turner and a walk to Nick Johnson to load the bases. Jairo Acevedo's single made its way through the right side of the infield, plating both Johnson and Turner to give the Wildcats an early 2-0 lead.
Miami would strike for its first run of the game off starter Gabriel Hernandez with still no hits in the ballgame. After being hit by a pitch to open the frame, sophomore centerfielder Dale Carey stole second base and advanced to third on a putout from the first baseman. Brad Fieger's groundout to second base was enough to plate Carey, as the Hurricanes cut the Wildcats lead in half with their first run on the night.
A big fifth inning from Miami would chase Hernandez out of the game and give the Hurricanes their first lead of the night. After issuing back-to-back walks to Rony Rodriguez and Esteban Tresgallo, Hernandez allowed a sacrifice bunt to Jarred Mederos that advanced runners to second and third. One play later, a weak groundball from freshman catcher Garrett Kennedy gave Miami a 3-2 lead. Second baseman Juan Pizarro threw the ball past first baseman Nick Johnson, scoring both Rodriguez and Tresgallo on the E-4 RBI. And Miami wasn't done yet.
The team's first hit of the night came from junior infielder Stephen Perez, who belted a Hernandez offering into the gap in left-center to plate Kennedy for the third run of the inning and fourth of the game. An RBI single from Chantz Mack would eventually plate Perez, as Miami exited the inning with a commanding 5-2 lead.
Sophomore sidewinder Adam Sargent entered the sixth inning in relief of Ewing in a sticky situation, but managed to get his team out of the frame with no further damage. Sargent, who entered the game with runners on second and third and no outs, struck out two batters and induced a shallow fly-out to right field to get out of the sixth with his team sporting a 5-4 advantage. He would finish with 2.1 innings of near-perfect baseball, allowing only one hit through the rest of his stint. AJ Salcines and Eric Nedeljkovic combined for the final 1.2 scoreless innings, with Nedeljkovic picking up his third save of the season.
The two teams will play the series finale Sunday at Alex Rodriguez Park. First pitch thrown by head football coach Al Golden is set for 1 p.m.