BLACKSBURG, Va. - No. 1 Miami entered Friday's game at English Field with the second-best home run total in the ACC, and then showed why by banging out five round trippers in a 12-4 defeat of Virginia Tech in the opening contest of a three-game series. Center fielder Blake Tekotte accounted for three of them to lead a Hurricane attack that capitalized on four Tech errors to score 12 runs on just eight hits. The Hurricanes improved to 40-5 overall and 21-2 in the ACC with the win, while the Hokies - who out-hit the 'Canes 10-8 - dropped to 20-29 overall and 4-21 in conference play. The score was tied 3-3 heading into the seventh inning, but Miami exploded for nine runs over the final three frames to improve starting pitcher Chris Hernandez to an undefeated 9-0. He struck out six Hokies on nine hits in 6.2 innings of work. Starter Rhett Ballard (High Point, N.C.) was tagged with the loss for the Hokies and saw his record slip to 3-7. He only allowed four hits through the first seven innings - though all were on solo home runs - before running out of gas in the eighth. The 6-foot-6 right-hander threw a career-high 137 pitches and ended up allowing eight runs (six earned) on six hits and three walks, while fanning four in 7.1 innings. Four Hokies had two hits apiece for Tech, while right fielder Klint Reed (Chesterfield, Va.) also scored and drove in a run. Tekotte led off the game with a line shot off the right-field foul pole for a solo home run - his seventh of the year - to give the 'Canes an early 1-0 advantage. The Hokies answered back in the bottom of the second to take a 2-1 lead, and second baseman Austin Wates (Richmond, Va.) got it started when he led off the frame by beating out an infield single. After third baseman Michael Seaborn (Atlanta, Ga.) followed with a base hit through the left side to move Wates to second, DH Jose Cueto hit into a fielder's choice that retired Seaborn. Miami attempted to turn a double play and get Cueto, but the 'Canes first baseman dropped the throw and allowed Wates to scamper home for the Hokies' first run. Reed then delivered a double to right field that plated Cueto (Miami, Fla.) to put Tech on top. Shortstop Matt Hacker added another run for the Hokies in the bottom of the third by the grace of another Miami error. After reaching with a single and stealing second for his fifth swipe of the year, the senior from Richmond, Va., rounded third and headed for home on Wates' base knock to right field. Right fielder Dennis Raben's throw beat Hacker in plenty of time, but the Miami catcher dropped the ball and allowed Hacker to score. The 'Canes big bats made up for it, though, two innings later in the fifth, as they launched two more solo shots to knot the game at three. The first once again came from Tekotte, who this time sent a long ball to center field. First baseman Yonder Alonso followed two batters later when he slapped a liner to the opposite field off the left-field foul pole for his 15th dinger of the season. Tekotte launched his third home run of the game in the seventh inning to become the first Tech opponent this season to hit three round trippers in one game, putting Miami up 4-3 with his bomb to left-center field. Tech first baseman Sean O'Brien (Chappaqua, N.Y.) also hit three homers in one game earlier this year, doing so against Maryland on April 4. Miami opened up a five-run lead in the eighth with four tallies on two Tech errors to chase Ballard from the contest. Raben, who had reached on a fielder's choice and moved to third on a Ryan Jackson double, scored on a Seaborn fielding error during Dave DiNatale's grounder to third. Jackson and Adan Severino, who was intentionally walked, then touched home on catcher Yasmani Grandal's base hit from the nine-hole. Fittingly, Tekotte capped the inning's scoring with another RBI, though this time it came on a sacrifice fly to right field that plated DiNatale. The 'Canes added another home run for good measure in the ninth when Raben blasted his seventh of the season deep over the right-center field wall to score Alonso in the process. Jackson and Severino recorded Miami's final two runs on a Tech throwing error. Hokie catcher Chris Kay (Marietta, Ga.) notched an RBI ground out in the bottom of the ninth to score Reed and set the final tally. Because of the threat of thunderstorms on Sunday, the third game of the series has been moved to Saturday as part of a doubleheader that will begin at 2 p.m.
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