#5 Canes Score 17 To Take Series Against Pittsburgh, Go For Sweep Sunday

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]


Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1982 national championship team, the present-day Canes demonstrated the right stuff in blowing away the Panthers in Mark Light fashion with a season-high 17-2 victory. It was metal to pedal the entire game never letting up on the gas until the final out. Seventeen unanswered runs behind the 4-hit performance of Karson Ligon who was masterful on the mound completing a record high 8 innings striking out 8. After giving up a 2-out solo HR in the first, Karson locked in only allowing 5 base runners to reach base the remainder of his stay never allowing any base runner (1) to get beyond 2nd. He kept his pitch count down in total control throughout the course of the game. After a very disappointing last week, it was the return of the Karson of old. At 98 pitches, it looked like he could easily go for a complete game after a 10 pitch 8th striking out two. 

After last night’s performance of seven scattered hits, the question asked is where are the bats and the runs we are capable of producing? Tonight, they let out all the stops scoring in every inning except one. They put up crooked numbers in the first, sixth, and seventh inning. Answering the opening inning homer by the Panther, Miami struck back with 4 and it was nonstop after that. The Panthers had opened Pandora’s Box and released a monster that gobbled up everything in sight with hit after hit, run after run. By the 4th inning, it was 11-0 with no let up on the gas until the 8th with a final HR by Renzo Gonzalez, his first, to complete the 17 unchallenged runs cementing another series win. 

The only change from last night’s lineup was Mike Rosario in right batting 9th. Karson Ligon on the rubber.

Hitting is contagious as demonstrated by tonight‘s performance. They were not going to let this be a pitching confrontation like it was last night and Miami struck in the first after the Panthers took their only lead of the night with a two-out solo HR. Miami responded with a 4-run first capped by a 415’ moonshot by Jacob Burke, his 7th, to left-center. Miami went without a run in the second, but proceeded in correcting this void with runs thereafter for the remainder of the game.

Zach would get Miami back into the run zone in the third with his first of 3 RBIs tonight extending the lead to 5-1. That was only the prelude that was to follow in the 4th.

Mike Rosario would open and close the inning with an out. In between, 6 runs on 3 hits would light up the board. CJ would start the carousel rolling with a walk. Edgardo would advance him to third on a double to right-center. Panthers wanted nothing to do with Yoyo so they gave him first on an intentional walk to load the bases preferring to pitch against Max. Good theory, bad execution in that the firth pitch hits him starting the change reaction to follow. Burke strikes out for out #2. Dominic outlasts a 7 pitch count to walk in #2, followed by Zach singling to left center scoring two more. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Henry Wallen finalizes the 6-run scoring spree with a 2 RBI double to right.

While the offense was providing a cushion for Karson to work with, he was doing his part allowing only one runner to reach base through the 5th. A lead-off double in the 6th ended where he started; on second. Karson would continue to baffle the Pitt hitters until he left the game after completing 8 innings only giving up that lone run back in the first.

After the 6 run break-out in the 4th, a bit of a let-up on the pedal with solitary runs in the 5th and 6th. The run in the 5th was an RBI double by Max and the 6th CJ single brought in Zach from third.

In the 7th, Miami once again put up another crooked number, the 3rd of the game, with a trio of runs helped along with an opening error and completing the scoring on a SF to left by Henry. WP brought in the first run followed by Jacob’s RBI double. At 16-1, all the frustrations of prior games with silent bats were almost put to rest. Renzo Gonzalez PH for CJ decided to leave his mark on getting his first HR going downtown to left-center 372′ to finalize Miami’s scoring for the night.
Jordan Dubberly came in to pitch the 9th. Panthers finally broke through after going 7 scoreless innings with a two-out double for their second run of the game. Panthers drew last blood, but the Canes drained them convincingly 17-2 in a runaway.

Offensively, Miami put on a hitting clinic, batting .375 overall, with all starters except Pitelli and Rosario getting at least one hit. Four Canes with multiple numbers: Edgardo Villegas 2-4 (double); Jacob Burke 3-6 (HR,double,3RBI); Zach Leverson 3-3 (3RBI); Henry Wallen 2-4(double,3RBI).Additionally: Yohandy Morales(double); Maxwell Romero(double,3RBI); Renzo Gonzalez(HR,RBI).

Pitching was showcased with Karson going a full 8 innings in his best showing to date. Definitely redeemed himself from his worse showing last week. For a freshman, he has been pitching better than all expectations and he is just getting started. Last week was just a hiccup and has rebounded putting that behind him with better times to come.
Alejandro Rosario is scheduled to put his mark on the line in completing the SWEEP with the first pitch at 1PM.

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