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The Miami Hurricanes (3-0) finished their first series of the Gino DiMare era about as well as a team could. They completed the three game sweep of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (0-3) on Sunday afternoon. Redshirt Junior Brian Van Belle gave the Hurricanes a strong outing in his first start as the Broward College transfer tossed six shutout innings and racked up five strikeouts.
In addition to strong pitching, the Hurricane bats continued to stay red hot scoring nine runs on 10 hits. Freshman second baseman Anthony Vilar led the way going 4-for-4 including a third inning double which drove in Tony Jenkins to open the scoring. With Vilar on second, Freddy Zamora hit a grounder to third which led to an errant throw by Scarlet Knight third baseman Carmen Scalfini. Vilar was able to score on the errant throw while Zamora would round all the way to third.
Van Belle would continue to deal earning his fourth strikeout in the top of the fourth.
SIENTATE! Van Belle throws high heat past Sclafani to strikeout the Rutgers third baseman and get out of the fourth. pic.twitter.com/EkicOxC58a
— Canes Baseball (@CanesBaseball) February 17, 2019
In the bottom of the fifth, Vilar would notch his second hit with a two-out single. Rutgers starter, Tevin Murray then walked Zamora before hitting Adrian Del Castillo to load the bases. This would be the last batter Murray faced. Reliever Garrett French then threw a wild pitch allowing Vilar to put the Hurricanes up 3-0.
The Hurricanes managed to stretch the lead to four before Rutgers would strike back. A failed pickoff attempt by Miami reliever Daniel Federman would move Rutgers Carmen Scalfani to second. One pitch later, he was driven in by Peter Serruto. DiMare’s men would get that run right back in the bottom of the inning. Who else but Anthony Vilar led off the inning with a double before being driven home by Del Castillo to get the score to 5-1.
“Del Castillo has been special from Day 1, so we all knew that,” head coach Gino DiMare said. “I was really, really impressed and certainly happy to see Vilar swing the bat. We faced some lefties and these guys hit off some lefties where they stayed in there and drove the ball the other way, which is a great sign for hitters.”
Rutgers tried to claw their way back, scoring twice in the top of the eighth. Del Castillo would have none of it though. His bases loaded double in the bottom of the eighth sparked a four run inning and slammed the door on Rutgers chances. Junior right-hander Tyler Keysor would come in and close it out for the Hurricanes in the ninth.
If your Gino Dimare, you couldn’t have asked for a better opening weekend. This was the first opening series sweep for the Hurricanes since 2016. In the three games versus Rutgers, the Hurricanes scored 35 total runs while only allowing seven. Six of the seventeen Hurricanes with at least one at bat, are now hitting over .300. Four of those players are over .400 and Anthony Vilar is leading the way hitting a blazing .636 (7-for-11).
The Hurricanes will look to build on their fast start as they will host FAU on Wednesday night the 20th at 6pm. Hopefully the Canes can get a strong victory before traveling to face the #3 ranked Florida Gators next weekend.