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Kennedy's Walk-Off Single Lifts UM

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Garrett Kennedy hit a walk-off two-run bloop single in the bottom of the ninth to give the Miami Hurricanes a 5-4 win over Rutgers in the season opener on Saturday afternoon.

Garrett Kennedy watches his game-winning hit fall in.

The two teams will play the second game of a doubleheader Saturday at 7:05 after Friday’s game was postponed due to rain.

Rutgers scored three runs in the top of the ninth off closer AJ Salcines (1-0) to take a 4-3 lead.

Chris Barr and Dale Carey walked to begin the ninth. Alex San Juan’s sacrifice advanced the runners and Brad Fieger was hit by a pitch by Charlie Lasky (0-1) to load the bases with one out.

Kennedy pinch-hit for Ricky Eusebio and dropped a base hit in front of left fielder Vinny Zarrillo as Barr and Carey came into score to give the Hurricanes the win.

“It was a great team win,” said Miami starter Chris Diaz. “We showed a lot of fight and we came back at the end. We picked each other up.”

Diaz allowed one unearned run and five hits in six innings for Miami. He struck out five and walked one while throwing 50 of 84 pitches for strikes while using an effective one-seam fastball.

“I felt great,” Diaz said. “The first two innings I was falling behind guys, but then I found it later in the game.”

A trio of newcomers sparked Miami’s offense as David Thompson hit a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth, Alex Hernandez drove in a run, and Brandon Lopez went 2 for 2 with a walk.

Chris Diaz allowed one unearned run in six innings.

Miami trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth following a fielding error by Hernandez, which led to a run.

Michael Broad and Lopez reached base to begin the sixth and advanced on a sacrifice by Tyler Palmer. Hernandez drove in Broad with an infield single and two batters later, Thompson hit a hard grounder up the middle for a 3-1 lead.

Thompson, the all-time home run hitter in Florida state high school history, struck out looking in his first at-bat with a runner on third. He popped out to the catcher in the fourth before his first hit as a Hurricane.

Eric Nedeljkovic pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Diaz before turning it over to Salcines in the ninth. Salcines walked the first batter before allowing an RBI double by Jeff Melillo to pull Rutgers within 3-2.

After getting the first out of the inning, Salcines walked another batter. Charlie Law followed with a soft liner to left field that Eusebio could not come up with cleanly allowing the tying run to cross home plate.

Notes: The team wore patches in memory of former head coach Ron Fraser with the No. 1 on a diamond on the upper right part of the jersey. … SS Brandon Lopez, a 34th-round pick by Toronto, singled in his first career at-bat. … Five newcomers made their UM debuts. … Miami commits John Ruiz and Dakota Robbins were in attendance. … RHP Javi Salas (6-3, 3.21) will start the second game against RHP Tyler Gebler (3-5, 4.54).

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