The Miami Hurricanes had suffered at the hands of the Florida Gators continually — at one point continuously — going back as far as the 2009 postseason.
But Friday, the No. 16 Canes exorcised their offensive demons with three solo home runs and a two-run double to open the weekend series with a 6-4 victory over No. 23 UF at Alex Rodriguez Park.
With the score tied at 3-3 after UM’s David Thompson came home on a wild pitch, freshman Willie Abreu opened the home-run derby with a shot to left. Gators outfielder Ryan Larson attempted to make the catch with a sky-high leap and arm outstretched over the fence. When he came down, it took a few seconds for third-base umpire Jacob Asher to call it a homer for a 4-3 Miami lead — and most of the home crowd of 3,481 erupted.
“I really had no idea,’’ Abreu said. “I was running as fast as I could around the bases trying to get to home plate. Then I heard the noise, everybody scream, and I turned around and I wasn’t sure what happened. They just said, ‘Keep going! Keep going!’ I scored and it was a good feeling.’’
The Canes (3-2), who came into the game with a .228 team batting average, made it 5-3 in the fifth on senior Dale Carey’s leadoff homer to left.
“Great feeling once you get that first one out of the way,’’ Carey said. “Now you’ve got to come back [Saturday] and win the series. The offense was going to come sooner or later, and it just happened to come [Friday].’’
That was the end for Gators starter Bobby Poyner, who allowed five runs — three earned — on five hits and a walk in four innings. He struck out three.
Miami’s Garrett Kennedy pulled his home run to right field in the sixth to give UM a 6-3 lead.
It was UM’s first three-homer game since March 13, 2012, against Illinois State.
Alex Hernandez contributed to UM’s effort with three hits and a two-run double in the second inning after UF took a 3-0 lead in the first.
The Gators (4-2) scored their fourth run in the eighth off freshman right-hander Bryan Garcia, who replaced winning starter Chris Diaz (three earned runs on eight hits, with no walks and three strikeouts) to begin the inning. Taylor Gushue (double) scored on an RBI by designated hitter Peter Alonso.
Garcia went two innings for his first career save.
Before Friday, the Gators had won 13 of the past 14 games against the Canes and 16 of the past 18. UF had an 11-game win streak against UM that ended last season at Gainesville — until UF won the next two games to take the series.