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Solid debut for former Dade baseball players at the U

I went out to catch a UM baseball game at Mark Light Field Sunday and saw a fantastic debut by last year's Class 4A-1A Pitcher of the Year and Monsignor Pace grad Chris Hernandez.

That's not all, Hernandez threw to last year's 6A Hitter of the Year Yasmani Grandal, catcher from Miami Springs.

Hernandez threw six innings and gave up only three hits - all singles - and struck out eight in a 7-0 win against Cincinnati.

Now I know some might say, hey "it's Cincinnati," do that against UF or an ACC team. But I say its pretty good for a freshman making his first start and knowing he's been tabbed as one of the three starters that will go week after week. Most of the time, a freshman pitcher will begin out of the bullpen or making those spot starts in the middle of the week.

"Once I got a couple of strikes, any nerves out there were gone," Hernandez said. "Me and Yaz [Grandal] worked real well together. I think I only shook off a sign maybe twice the whole game. He knew exactly what I wanted to throw."

Grandal went 1-for-4 with an RBI double in the bottom of the 8th off the center field wall. The Canes' backup catcher right now to Jason Haggerty, called his own pitches and said he finally timed his swing perfectly on the last at-bat. He popped up the first three times.

"I was hacking a little early the first three times," said Grandal, who led the county in home runs with 13 his senior season at Springs. "The speed of the game is something I'm still getting used to. But my catching coach Joe Mercadante has been working a lot with me on that in practice."

UM, which again has a roster replete with former Dade stars, had two more clutch performances from 305 alumni.

Former American star Adan Severino hit his first UM home run as part of a four-run sixth inning that broke the game open. Severino, who is a transfer from Broward Community College, crushed the ball.

Former Coral Gables ace Jason Santana continued the Canes' solid bullpen performances during the weekend sweep by striking out three in two relief innings.

The most important statistic -- NO WALKS.

Hernandez and Santana had outstanding control and avoided an issue that plagued UM hurlers last season.