Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
NO HITTING, NO PITCHING, NO COACHING. That pretty well sums up today’s performance of the Hurricanes. To quote Gino, “We were very nonchalant. We were just very quiet, going through the motions.” Going into ACC play this weekend, this team couldn’t be less ready. Having lost 4 of their last 5 games and facing an undefeated Wolfpack team, things could not look any bleaker. The hitting had shut down going hitless tonight through 5 innings, starting pitcher was knocked out after two innings, and marginal fielding at best, but the ultimate failure was utilizing a pitcher who has shown to be completely unreliable by past performances. Ronaldo Gallo was brought in at the most critical time of the game with a failure on Gino’s part in not removing him at the first sign of trouble. Tonight it was a total team effort; all bad.
Before the game even started, I was shaking my head wondering what in the world is Gino doing with his choice of catchers for tonight’s contest. Giving Carlos the night off I have no argument, but having Jack Scanlon rather than JD Jones filling the position tonight is beyond me. Understand the starting pitcher was RH and Jack bats left, but his productivity at the plate this season has been zero. He has yet to get a hit striking out 5 of his 10 appearances at the plate. Make that now 7 after today. Gino for some reason continues to utilize him rather than go with JD who during preseason had one of the best productivity of any player. Not only does Gino have this mental block sticking with Jack, but it is also likewise with Ronaldo Gallo. Over and over again failure, failure, failure. What does it take for it to register that you can’t fix what is unfixable?
That said, Gino shuffled the starting lineup moving CJ Kayfus to the leadoff position hoping to rekindle the spark he had last year in that role. Renzo Gonzalez playing left batting 6th with Edgardo moving to center replacing Dario who has been struggling. Ian Farrow was tonight’s DH batting 7th and Jack as mentioned earlier catching batting 8th. Alejandro Torres got the call for the mid-week starter.
As Miami struggled to get started, not so for Jacksonville. The Dolphins having knocked off Florida last week had their sights on doing likewise with the Canes. With no fear of facing Goliath, little David played the aggressor having runners on the corners in the first before being struck down. Not to be deterred, a lead-off double to open the third followed a slingshot blow striking Goliath for a 2-run shot leaving the yard in left. With a walk following the HR ended the day for Alejandro at 40 pitches. Having to result to our Achilles Heel in the 3rd inning only spelled concern. Before the game’s end, Gino would make 5 walks to the mound turning to the BP for relief.
As mentioned, Miami struggled to try to get not only a hit but a baserunner. It wasn’t until the third that Ian Farrow managed to get a leadoff walk making him our first baserunner. Managed to get to second on his first steal of the season but that is where he became stranded. It wouldn’t be until the 5th that the Canes managed to see their next opportunity having their lead-off batter, Blake Cyr, reach base also with a walk. Richard Long, Dolphin’s starter, answered by striking out Renzo Gonzalez, Ian Farrow, and Jack Scanlon in order to maintain his no-hitter through 5.
Trailing 2-0 going into the 6th, the fans finally had something to cheer about finally seeing a bit of light from all the darkness through the first five innings. CJ being hit by pitch with one out on the books followed by an Edgardo walk finally managed to end the day for Long at 104 pitches. Runners on 1st and 2nd and Yoyo coming to the plate, you just knew that the pendulum was about to swing. Yoyo breaks the no-hitter with a single to load the bases for Zack Levenson coming to the plate. As consistent as he has been all season, when you needed the right person to break open the game, fails to do so striking out on 4 pitches. Bases were still loaded now at 2 outs, it was up to Blake Cyr to finally break through. Single to right scored two to tie the score. at two.
The score would remain tied going into the 8th and Miami had the opportunity to take the lead for the first time. Lead-off double by CJ , set the gears in motion. Edgardo failed to advance CJ by grounding out 5-3 bringing Yoyo to the plate. With first base opened Yoyo is intentionally walked.. Change of pitchers. Again Zack to the plate at the most critical point in the game. Count 1-2, Zack takes the pitch and crushes it to deep center. On any given day, this ball would have been long, long gone. It was a towering shot and the wind was blowing in hard which kept it in the park. Only able to advance CJ to third. Rather than be up by three runs, we move into the 9th at the score tied at two.
The move by Gino to replace Carlos Lequerica in the 9th for Ronaldo Gallo had to be the worse move possible based on Gallo’s past record. Carlos just completed his 2nd inning in relief having struck out the side in order in the 8th. The smart choice was to go with Andrew. Going with Ronaldo after leaving the game after just 7 pitches against Florida and blowing the game against FAU why Gino decided this was the correct decision, is beyond any sound reasoning. Ronaldo should have been on a very short leash at best. Instead, Gino let him run free allowing him to load the bases with a pair of walks and a single. While this was transpiring, no one was warming up. No one. Finally, with BL, an action was seen from the dugout as Sebastian Perez ran out to the BP to start warming up. After an RBI single, WP (run), and single (2runs), Gino finally decides a change is in order. The 64,000 dollar question, was why Gino had no one warming up to start the inning, or wait until 4 runs had already been scored to realize the mistake he made with his choice of Gallo. Damage done.
Thanks to Ronaldo Gallo and the management of Gino, Miami was trailing by 4 going into the bottom of the 9th. Even with all the poor decisions made in the top half of the inning, the Canes, despite Gino, fought back. Renzo Gonzalez singled to open the 9th. Advances to 2nd on a WP. Dorian, PH for Ian, grounds out to first advancing Renzo to 3rd. Throwing error by 2B to 1st scores Renzo. Trailing by 3, Pitelli walks bringing up the tying run to the plate. Could this be another Magical Moment with CJ coming to the plate? An 11-pitch marathon with 7 foul balls. Hard shot appeared like it was going through the middle, the shortstop makes a great play touching 2nd and throwing to 1st for the DP and the game.
This game will sting for so many reasons. From no hitting, only 4 hits for the entire game, the starter not being able to get beyond the 3rd inning, and poor management decision of final pitcher selection. No player with multiple hits and only one extra-base hit; CJ (double). This game was an embarrassment after being blown out of Gainesville on a Mercy Rule and now this does not paint a pretty picture with undefeated NCS here for the start of the ACC play.
As to who will be pitching come Friday 7PM is anyone’s guess. I would start Karson and maybe the reason we did not see Andrew in the 9th was Gino making the move to start him in the weekend rotation replacing Rosario or Ziehl. Whatever decision is made, we are in for a very long disappointing season.