Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Charlotte, NC — Three HRs by Tommy White and 6 innings of solid relief pitching by Matt Willadsen spelled elimination for Miami. Although Friday’s game has no bearing on the Tournament it does have implications regarding national standing as to whether Miami has any hope for consideration of hosting a Super Regional.
A fired-up Wolfpack got the very partisan crowd rocking in the first on a two-out homer by Tommy White the first of three he would crush out of the ballpark to give the Pack an early 1-0 lead. Miami would get off to a slow start until the third when Miami had their best inning of the game sending 9 players to the plate, for 4 runs including a three-run shot to left by Yoyo to give Miami the lead 4-1. Miami couldn’t hold on to the lead as the pack answered with 5 unanswered runs of their own retaking the lead over the next two innings including White’s second HR of the evening with two on board. The turning point in the game came in the 4th with two outs and two on, LuJames Groover hits a long fly to right taking Gaby right up to into the wall. He holds onto the ball momentarily making a spectacular catch only to drop it after crashing into the wall resulting in two runs and Gaby being taken out of the game. Also leaving the game was Carson Palmquist was not having the best of nights and possibly his worse night giving up 6 runs on 4 hits and walking 4. Compounding the injury and departure of Carson was on the very next play Pitelli fielding the ball, recorded as an infield hit, throws the ball to first wide of the target for the third run of the inning which at games end was the score differential
Home runs just kept on coming for both sides in the 5th. Both solo blasts keeping the separation margin the same at two. In the 6th, it was once again Tommy White with his third forget me not to right with one on board that extended the lead to which Miami was able to get one back in the 7th but a 4-6-3 DP by Max with two on not only killed a possible comeback but ended Miami’s hope for good. Miami had one final chance in the 9th with one out and two on to tie the game. Strikeouts by Edgardo and Yoyo were definitely the end of what could have been.
Everything seemed to go wrong for Miami tonight from blatant calls by the officials which almost got Gino ejected, Palmquist having a very disappointing outing, the collision by Gaby off the RF wall which resulted in the three-run difference in the final score, and the spectacular plays from their defense taking away sure hits and eventual runs all spelled North Carolina State moving on to the semi-finals against Pitt on Saturday and for Miami to lick their wounds hoping to put up a better showing on Friday. Miami can not forget that there are more important games left to be played.
The team overall did not look ready for the game seemingly overwhelmed by the loudest of the Wolfpack fans and Tommy White who ended up accounting for 5 of their 9 runs. Batting overall .212 has a lot to say for their reliever Matt Willadsen who kept our hitters over the course of 6 innings to just 4 hits striking out 8. Besides Carson not being Carson, the same could be said from Ronaldo Gallo giving up a pair of HRs sending him returning to the dugout only after 1.1 innings which is so unlike his performance all year where he was dominant on the mound. Only Alex McFarlane and Andrew Walters looked their normal self with Andrew striking out two for the one inning he pitched.
As earlier stated, the disappointment of tonight needs to be put behind us, and come out playing strong on Friday. It is important we finish on a high note and not fall flat so close to the finish line. Worked too hard to get as far as we have this season and we need to show the Committee that we still have enough left inside to come across the checkered line a winner.
Friday’s game against Wake is scheduled for 3PM.