Miami Hurricanes Take Down #1 Florida Gators in a Best of Three Series
The Miami Hurricanes (2-1) traveled to Gainsville for a three-game series against the Florida Gators (1-2) and it lived up to all of the hype. Not only has the 2021 NCAA baseball season officially started, but fans were also immediately spoiled with some great baseball. The Hurricanes ranked No. 11 traveled to the swamp, taking two out of three games against the No. 1 ranked Gators. Miami showed tremendous fight, and no matter what the score, both teams did not give up.
Entering game one, the Florida Gators sent right-hander Tommy Mace to the mound against Miami’s Daniel Federman. Florida got going quickly, scoring in the first inning, but Miami came back to tie things up in the top of the second, making the score 1-1. The game featured shutout innings for both teams until the Gators grabbed complete control of the game after a three-run bottom of the fifth inning.
UF did a great job of stringing together base hits, and a single by sophomore Kendrick Calilao broke the tie and gave Florida a lead they would build on. UF entered the top of the ninth up 7-1, and things got interesting as Miami scored four runs cutting the Gators lead to just two before losing.
Florida came out in game two and immediately took a commanding 5-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, but throughout the game, Miami showed that they were not going down without a fight. In the top of the seventh inning, the Hurricanes began to chip away at UF’s 8-3 lead, and in the top of the ninth, Miami sent things to extra innings thanks to poor pitching and control by Gators reliever Franco Aleman. Aleman walked five batters in the top of the ninth and hit one batter leading to three runs for Miami.
Miami went on to score two runs in the top of the thirteenth inning, with third baseman Raymond Gil breaking the tie with an RBI single. Gil was the hero for the canes leading the team to an extra-innings 10-9 win.
To change things up in game three, the Hurricanes offense jumped out early and gave Miami a huge lead that they almost squandered but held on. Miami took an 8-0 lead in the fourth inning and allowed Florida to creep back into things allowing runs in the next four innings, but held on. Brothers Adrian Del Castillo and Christian Del Castillo each had two hits and two RBI’s powering the Hurricanes.
Where to Next for Miami
After three games against SEC powerhouse UF, Miami begins ACC play on Friday, Feb. 26, with a three-game set against the Virginia Tech Hokies. Virginia Tech is currently 2-0 after beating Kent State to start the season. The Hurricane’s confidence is high coming off a series win against the No. 1 team in the nation, and rightfully so. Miami heads into the second weekend of college baseball, ranking as high as No. 3 and No. 1 in polls.
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Where to Next for the Gators
Florida has a chance to get things on track over the next few weeks with matchups against much easier teams than Miami. UF returns to the diamond Tuesday for game one of a two-game series against the University of North Florida. UNF is coming off a three-game series where they went 1-2 against Florida State.
The Difference A Year makes
Almost exactly one year ago, before Covid-19 canceled the entire NCAA baseball season, Miami and UF had a three-game series with both teams ranked highly. This series involved three very close games, with the Hurricanes unable to scrape away one win. The Gators came to Coral Gables ranked No. 2 in the nation but swept the No. 1 ranked Hurricanes. For players on Miami’s roster, winning the series against UF in 2021 had to feel very good.