'Canes Ride Collins' Blast In Game One
CORAL GABLES, Fla.—In three years or so, we might see Mets righthander Justin Dunn slip a 95-mph fastball past White Sox catcher Zack Collins.
But Friday night, we saw the two first-round picks face off in the super regionals and Collins came out ahead.
Sure, Dunn struck Collins out twice. But Collins’ massive three-run home run in the third inning changed the tenor of the game and Miami went out to a 12-7 win over Boston College in Game One of the Coral Gables super regional at Mark Light Stadium.
“He’s a great pitcher,” Collins said of Dunn. “But I wasn’t thinking about it in the draft way. I just knew that he’s a hard thrower, and I was just trying to get some runs on the board.”
The winner of the series advances to the College World Series, which starts June 18 in Omaha.
BC, which has not qualified for the CWS in 49 years, scored four runs in the ninth against the underbelly of Miami’s bullpen to make the game closer. Miami needed four relievers in the ninth, including closer Bryan Garcia, who got the last out to nail down his 17th save of the season and No. 42 for his career.
“I love what we did in that last inning,” BC coach Mike Gambino said. “It would have been easy to just go away.”
Still, BC (34-21) is now in a must-win situation in a place where the Eagles rarely win. BC is 1-14 at Mark Light, with the lone win coming in 2010.
Miami (49-11), the No. 3 national seed, trailed 1-0 until that third inning.
Dunn, who was drafted 19th overall by the Mets on Thursday night, was cruising early.
He struck out four of the first eight Miami batters—including Collins on a high fastball. But with one out and none on in the third, Miami’s Carl Chester slapped a hard grounder that bounced off Dunn’s right leg for a single.
“It hurt, but that’s part of the game,” Dunn said. “I knew I had to get through it for my team, eat up some innings and keep us in the game. It was just a nagging little pain that bothered me for a few innings.”
BC coaches and trainers came out to check on Dunn, who allowed the next batter, Randy Batista, to drop a perfect bunt single, inches inside the third-base line.
Collins, a patient hitter who leads the nation with 70 walks and entered the game with a .534 on-base percentage, ambushed Dunn’s first pitch, pulling his shot over the wall in right-center field, the baseball smacking off the adjacent parking garage.
“I tried to execute a fastball away,” Dunn said.
Added Collins: “I’m a patient hitter, but if he’s going to throw me a first-pitch fastball, I’m going to be aggressive.”
One batter later, Miami’s Johnny Ruiz hit a solo home run to cap a four-run inning. Miami led 4-1 and never trailed again in a game that was delayed at the start for two hours due to rain.
Ruiz added a grand slam in the eighth inning and finished with a career-high five RBIs. Before Friday, the junior only had two career homers.
Miami sophomore Mike Mediavilla (11-1), pitching the opener of a series for the first time, threw a career-high 123 pitches and earned the win.
Mediavilla lasted 7 2/3 innings, allowing four hits, three walks and three runs. He struck out seven and his pitch count was also the highest for a Miami pitcher this season.
Dunn, who entered the game with a 1.49 ERA, lasted 5 1/3 innings and 96 pitches. He allowed six hits, two walks and five runs as his ERA soared to 2.06. He also hit a batter, and the five runs allowed were a season high.
Three homers slugged by Miami fit the Hurricanes' story line. The Canes have hit more than twice as many longballs as the Eagles this year—46-18. And Collins, with his 40th homer on Friday, became the eighth Miami player to ever reach that mark.
The Hurricanes had four players in Friday’s game that were drafted earlier in the day or on Thursday. Dunn is the only BC draftee so far this year.
Besides Collins, who went 10th overall to the White Sox, Miami had right fielder Willie Abreu (sixth round by the Rockies), closer Bryan Garcia (sixth round, Tigers) and shortstop Brandon Lopez (10th round, Twins) drafted.
On Saturday, BC will throw junior righthander Mike King (7-4, 3.21) against Miami’s junior lefthander, Danny Garcia (9-3, 3.50).
There was a 40 percent chance of rain when it poured on Friday. There is a 50 percent chance of rain on Saturday and an 80 percent chance on Sunday.