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Brokemond and RedHawks ride seven-run first inning to win over Indiana

Benji Brokemond joked and posed for photos with The Miami Student’s Ken Decrosta before Miami’s 9-7 win over Indiana Tuesday. Brokemond put on for the camera, and apparently he didn’t neglect his warm-ups. 

After starter Michael Spinozzi scraped through the first inning, allowing three runs and narrowly avoiding more damage, Brokemond led the game off with a walk. 

Then the RedHawks exploded. 

The next batter Zach MacDonald doubled down the line, and Brokemond was well past third when the right fielder touched the ball. Miami ended up batting around, with help from five straight grounders through the infield out of hitters four through eight.

After the nine batter Willy Escala swung through a fastball, Brokemond returned to the batter's box. 

With two runners on, he pulled a 2-1 fastball into the left-center field gap that easily scored runs six and seven. Brokemond flew around second with thoughts of a triple but got tagged diving into third, sending the RedHawks out in a blaze of glory befitting of such an explosive inning.

Miami bent but managed to hold off the dangerous Hoosier lineup the rest of the way. They held in check Matt Ellis, the Big 10 home run leader, and Josh Pyne, who’s been on base in 20 straight games. 

Brokemond left the game in the top of the eighth inning after it looked like he tweaked something trying to leg out an infield single the inning prior. But he was dancing on the field post win. 

It’s been a stellar start to Brokemond’s sophomore season. All of his numbers are up; he’s hitting .346 and getting on base over 45 percent of the time, and his slugging percentage has risen from .382 to a cautionary .519.

In an interview last week, Brokemond contributed some of his success this year to having a season and an offseason as a college player under his belt.

“Coming in with some experience is super helpful, just building off of what I learned last year,” Brokemond said. “I used the offseason to recover and get my body right for the season. It was perfect for me.”

He also commented on why he came to Miami.

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“The biggest thing that made me want to come to Miami was seeing a group of people that just cared for each other so much,” Brokemond said. “Teammates that actually treat each other like family.” 

And because it’s always fun to hear a center fielder talk about playing the sport’s most fun position:

“Playing center, I like how I can see the whole field. The swings, the pitches, all of the infielders. It’s like a bird’s-eye view.

Brokemond and the ’Hawks hit the field again this weekend at Kent State.