Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
One of the best rivalries in college baseball faced off in a 3 game series with Super Regional implications for the Canes and for the Noles just making it into the Regionals. The Canes are still lingering with a bitter taste from the Noles sweeping them last year at home and in Tournament play. As Gino stated in a pre-game interview, “the calendar has been circled awaiting this date”. The rivalry could not be tighter after 203 games the series is even at 100 apiece and 3 ties.
Miami is coming off of a 5 game win streak, there was no hotter team in the ACC scoring and hitting in double digits and taking control early. In game one, Miami took charge in the 2nd inning with a three-run HR by Ariel Garcia driving the ball 364′ to left which proved that it was all Miami would need to take the first game. Both Noles runs were unearned coming from a throwing error from Max to second on an attempted steal and a throwing error by Levenson in the 6th trying to double up the runner at first but no one was covering first. The Canes would add to their 3-1 lead in the 4th with Dorian singling in Dominic who reached base on a one-out double. Dorian would pick up another RBI in the 6th with his second single extending the score 5-1. Yoyo added the finishing touches in the 7th registering his 13th homer of the year with a 396′ drive to center scoring CJ who opened the inning with a single. Back-to-back double by Jacob and Zach was the icing on the cake for the 8-2 victory.
Miami used little of their pitching arsenal only needing Carson Palmquist and Gage Ziehl in relief. Carson gave us 6 solid innings despite the 2 unearned runs striking out 5 and only allowing 5 hits and walking one. However, it was Gage who really showed his talents going for a career-high of 3 innings and striking out 6 with just a pair of singles. Of the 7 hits the Noles Managed off of Carson and Gage, none were for extra bases.
Cane standouts in game one were Yoyo’s 13th HR scoring two and Ariel’s three-run winner in the 2nd. Dominic had a big game one going 3-4 including a double.
As good as the Canes looked in game one, they resembled the Canes of Season’s past where they would stink up the field floundering away with sloppy defense. As great as the pitching was in game one, not so in the nightcap. Errors plagued the team costing runs and ultimately the game. Karson who has been having issues with his control in the second half of the season threw with a mixed bag. He would start great getting ahead of the batters going 0-2 on the count but would lose the batter, like in the first inning by either hitting him or giving up a hit. He would follow it up with a pair of strikeouts only to have his defense collapse around him. In the first it was Chris Perez, catching, throwing the ball away to first on an attempted pickoff. Would walk to load the base again starting at 1-2 and losing the battle. With bases loaded getting called for a balk was only the beginning of mistakes that would befall the Canes in game two.
The third inning would change the whole complexion of the game from which the Canes would not recover. Two costly errors resulted in two additional unearned runs after starting the inning with a two-run homer which extended the score to 5-0. The unearned portion of the 4-run inning came on an error by Burke in center, which a favorable call by the scorer ruled a double. Even the announcers could not believe it had not been ruled an error. This would result in two additional runs. 5-0 at the end of three which really should have only been 2-0
Miami finally managed to get back into the game in the 5th inning putting up a trio of runs with RBI singles by CJ, Max, and Jacob. If errors on the field weren’t enough, Max ran through a red light at third trying to bring the score to within one instead of getting nailed at home. This would have benched any player doing what he attempted. Gino was halfway down the base- line trying to stop him, but the big guy rumbled on like his brakes failed and could not stop. Miami was on a roll and looked like they were finally hitting after putting on a strikeout clinic. After 5 innings, they had recorded 10 Ks which before day’s end would be 17.
Noles managed to get one run back in the bottom half of the inning on a SF giving Miami 4 innings to bounce back and take the series. The 7th was the opportunity to do just that. Had bases loaded no-outs with the heart of the order to do just that. WP scored one to bring the score to within 2 runs after starting the 5th being 5 down. Yoyo, now with runners on 2nd and 3rd, one run in, strikes out; his 4th of the game. Max in turn does exactly the same, strikes out; his second. This leaves it to Jacob who hits a long fly to right that the RF misplayed but recovers to make an awkward catch, which if dropped, would have tied the score. Instead, that would be the last hurrah as the Noles hold on to a 6-4 win.
A pitiful performance of just 4 runs on 6 hits after we have seen an offense doing nothing less in double digits in both categories since the third game against Georgia Tech. Tomorrow they will have a chance to bounce back with Rosario on the mound which hopefully won’t end up as Pitching by Committee as a result of an early departure from our starter. Still have Gallo, who only pitched 1.1 innings striking out 5, and Andrew who did not see any action today.
It’s uncharacteristic how we could watch two separate teams play on the same day and look totally different. Hopefully, tomorrow, barring weather, the once again tie at 101 games apiece will tilt in the direction of Miami. Start time HIGH NOON. Time to “STOP THE CHOP./”