Florida belts 3 homers in series opener against Miami

The 2023 Florida Gators were best known for their power at the plate a year ago, and the series opener against Miami proved that the 2024 team has just as much pop in their bats with three home runs in a 7-3 victory over the Hurricanes Friday night at Alex Rodriguez Field.

Despite 10 hits — three from both Cade Kurland Jac Caglianone — and seven runs, the game felt close for most of the night. Florida pulled away in the final three frames, a four-run margin hardly felt comfortable in hostile territory.

Kurland led off the game with a single and scored the first run on a routine ball to the shortstop that got booted. A good read helped, but the ball was booted into no-man’s land and likely would have scored him in any scenario.

Miami briefly held a two-run lead after Jason Torres’ sixth home run of the year, but Florida took back the lead with a two-run top of the fourth. Armando Albert drove in one on a fielder’s choice, and Michael Robertson brought in the go-ahead with a single up the middle.

Then, the power swings came.

Luke Heyman hit a towering solo shot to center in the fifth, and Cade Kurland and Jac Caglianone went back-to-back in the seventh. A sacrifice fly brought in Kurland for another insurance run in the top of the ninth.

Cade Fisher went 4 2/3 innings for the Gators, surrendering three runs on five hits and no walks. His slider looked sharp, inducing soft contact for most of the night. He left the game after hitting his second batter of the evening, giving way to Ryan Slater, who immediately hit another Miami batter.

Slater settled down after walking in a run, lasting 3 1/3 innings total.  He struck out four and walked just one.

Brandon Neely came in to close out the game, even though the offense pushed the game out of save range. Neely allowed two to get into scoring position in the final frame, but he closed it out without giving up a run.

The Gators and Hurricanes are back at it Saturday for Game 2 at 3 p.m. ET.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire