Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
With hits at a premium tonight, it was the LONG BALL that served up the final solution in determining the all-important game one; more specifically Gaby Gutierrez. Gaby’s two HRs gave Miami five of its six runs in what proved to be exactly what Miami would need to fight off a determined Irish team that fought back with two homers of their own to make the 9th inning more interesting than needed to be. Two of the top pitchers faced off tonight which proved to be a pitching battle. John Bertrand, ACC ERA leader, against Carson Palmquist, our ace, squared off against each other keeping opposing batters hitless. Both had perfect games going into the 4th inning. Ryan Cole leading off the 4th with a 2-0 count provides the first hit of the game clearing the left field wall to take the early lead of 1-0. Yoyo would answer with the same in the bottom half of the inning with a homer of his own to right 386′. Score tied at one at the end of the 4th. Gaby, in the 5th, who has been 0-16 up to this point delivers with a 414′ blast to center joined in his trot around the bases by Ariel Garcia and Dominic Pitelli who had walked and doubled prior to ending Gaby’s draught at the plate. Two innings later Gaby reappears at the plate and for the second time drives another towering blast this time to left center 406′ with Dominic on the bases to join him. Going into the 9th hold a comfortable 6-1 Andrew Walters was brought in to finalize game one. However, it didn’t exactly work as expected with a lead-off single. Ryan Cole who started the evening with a homer concluded with the same narrowing the margin to 6-4 which wasn’t quite enough as Andrew sealed the victory. This victory would not have been possible without the hitting performance of Gaby Gutierrez back with solid pitching.
All runs tonight were accounted for via the home run. Both pitchers earned the title of the best of the best. Carson Gave 5 strong innings only allowing for one hit coming in the 4th with Cole’s homer. Five strikeouts were collected along the way. John Bertrand lasted 6 innings frustrating Miami batters striking out 6 with 4 hits; 2 doubles (Burke, Pitelli) and two homers (Yoyo, Gaby). All Miami’s hits were for extra bases. Tonight it was power with no piddling singles to leave runners stranded. Only had one LOB tonight.
Miami was not without their defensive troubles picking up a pair of errors but these were offset by sport gem performances by Jacob in center taking a home run off the wall in spectacular form and CJ taking away a sure double with RBI implications in the 8th with a leaping catch and doubling off the runner at second.
Fortunately for Miami, the BP was not much in need tonight after depleting the BP Tuesday against Florida Gulf. Alex McFarlane came in to relieve Carson in the 6th after an E3 popup dropped by CJ and a walk putting a runner on 1st and 2nd no outs. Three batters faced, three strikeouts. Opened the 7th with two more strikeouts before giving up a hit and ending his tenure with a flyout to right. Gage Ziehl pitched the 8th and ran into a jam with back-to-back singles before Jacob bailing him out with that saving DP.
Going into tonight’s contest, each team was on top of their respective conference. ND loss tonight eliminates their hope of winning the Atlantic and Miami after losing their last 2 ACC series kept pace with VT who also won tonight against Duke. If we can match VT game for game, the remaining two games we’ll win the Coastal by 1/2 game and be seeded #1 going into next week’s Tournament as the ACC Champion for the regular season.
Tonight, we saw the return of Edgardo who PH in the 7th striking out on 3 pitches and Max who was out with a stomach virus for Tuesday’s game. It was reported by a family member that Andrew Walters was facing a similar stomach virus and was not expected to pitch so it was surprising to see him start the 9th holding onto a 5-run lead. Guess Gino did not want to take any chances, not figuring on Andrew giving up a 3 RBI long shot. Gaby took the opportunity in Edgardo’s absence and may have earn a return visit to left tomorrow night in place of Edgardo who they may want to continue to rest after being hit in the jaw and compounding it hurting his wrist during practice when arriving in Tallahassee last weekend
A much-needed win where our offense has not been producing. Just 5 hits tonight which is not exactly what you want to see, and only batted .172 overall, but with three HRs accounting for all 6 runs, you don’t need wasted singles leaving stranding runners on base. Gaby Gutierrez’s 2-3 performance for 5 RBIs was most definitely worthy of the title MVP.
Do it all again tomorrow at 7PM with Karson Ligon trying to rebound to early season performance levels where he was masterful on the mound.