Entering Friday night, it had been 256 days since the Miami Hurricanes baseball team took the field – with head coach Gino DiMare’s inaugural season in charge ending with the team missing the Super Regional round of the NCAA tournament for the third straight season.
It took just three innings for the ‘Canes to score their first runs of the 2020 season as the No. 3 ranked team in the country held on to defeat the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 2-1 in front of a near sellout crowd inside Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.
Miami (1-0) got on the board first in the bottom of the third inning when sophomore catcher Adrian Del Castillo hit a single to center field with the bases loaded that drove in two runs.
The Hurricanes got a great start on the mound from redshirt senior pitcher Brian Van Belle (1-0) as the Pembroke Pines native set his career high mark in strikeouts with 10 as he went six innings while allowing no runs and just four hits.
Many of the fans who dodge rain drops early on before first pitch were on the edge of the seats in the sixth inning when the Scarlet Knights (0-1) had two runners on when Van Belle was able to get shortstop to pop out to center fielder Tony Jenkins to end the threat.
Rutgers cut the lead in half in the top of the eighth inning when first baseman Chris Brito hit his first home run of the season off relief pitcher Tyler Keysor, who pitched one and a third innings before turning the ball over to pitcher JP Gates - who got a strikeout before turning the ball over to Daniel Federman, who went an inning and a third to get his first save of 2020.
The Hurricanes hosts the Scarlet Knights for two more games this weekend in Coral Gables with first pitch Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.