CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 21, 2010) – Tied at 5-5 heading into the ninth inning, Rutgers and No. 12 Miami combined for six runs in the frame with the Hurricanes coming out on top thanks to a three-run walk-off home run by Zeke DeVoss to give UM a 9-7 victory in Sunday’s series finale at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
The win gave the Hurricanes the series sweep against the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers broke the 5-5 tie in the top of the ninth as RU capitalized on an error to put runners on second and third without recording an out. Miami turned to its closer David Guitierrez and Ryan Kapp (Toms River, N.J.) greeted him with a double down the left-field line to bring home Brandon Boykin (Teaneck, N.J.) and Russ Hopkins (Piscataway, N.J.) to surge out to a 7-5 lead.
The Scarlet Knights brought in sophomore Charlie Law (Mainland, N.J.) for the ninth and got a strikeout to open the frame. Chris Pelaez got things started for UM with a one-out single and moved to third on a wild pitch and a fly out. Law, who issued a walk to put runners on the corners, was just one out away from victory when a Nathan Melendres’ hit to third base was mishandled, allowing a run to score to cut the lead to one run. DeVoss then followed with the three-run blast to give the Hurricanes the victory.
Rutgers had jumped out to an early lead with a run in the third – thanks to an RBI single from Dan Betteridge (Sewell, N.J.) – and two more scores in the fourth – thanks to a pair of singles and three errors in the frame.
Three consecutive extra-base hits to lead off the bottom half of the fourth, including back-to-back home runs from David Villasuso and Pelaez tied it up at 3-3, however.
The Scarlet Knights re-captured the lead with one inning later on one swing of the bat as Pat Biserta (Pt. Pleasant, N.J.) homered for the second straight day with a two-run blast over the right field fence to make it 5-3.
Stephen Perez led off the bottom half of the frame with a single and moved all the way over to third a steal and a throwing error where he scored on a sacrifice fly on the next play. Villasuso delivered his second home run of the afternoon to tie it up at 5-5.
Miami loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth against reliever Kevin Lillis (Fair Haven, N.J.) but the veteran pitcher got out of the inning unscathed with an inning-ending strikeout of UM power hitter Yasmani Grandal to set up the ninth inning dramatics.
Guitierrez got the win with his inning of relief, while Law took the loss for the Scarlet Knights. He struck out two and didn’t allow any earned runs in his ninth inning of work.
Sophomore starter Willie Beard (Spotswood, N.J.) pitched five innings with a pair of strikeouts and five runs allowed, while Miami starter Jason Santana also went five innings with five strikeouts while giving up five runs.
Rutgers returns to the Sunshine State next weekend to participate in the Big Ten/BIG EAST Baseball Challenge in Clearwater, Fla. The Scarlet Knights will open play with a 10 a.m. game against Iowa on Friday and play 10 a.m. contests against Northwestern and Purdue on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.