Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Tonight was a totally different story. The Sleeping Giant is finally awake as the Miami offense terrorized the Nittany Lions with 4 massive HRs, two from Zach Levenson adding to his one from Friday night to even the series at one. Karson Ligon was in top form which he showcased the early part of last year but fell off the wagon the second half of the season. Tonight, you could have asked more of him going 6.2 innings of two-hit ball. Unlike Penn State, we did not have to rely deeply upon our BP. The offensive machine was absolutely sizzling with a 10-run performance compliments of the long ball. The 2885 fans became more electrified with each of the yard-clearing shots. Seven HRs already this season, with Zach leading the pack with three is exactly what we will need to maintain as we move into the season. This was definitely not the same team that we saw flounder last night. This was one energized little bunny. Between the quality pitching as shown tonight and money-making shots, tonight’s wake-up call just might be the start of what everyone has been expecting. One can not do without the other. Without the hitting, the pitching won’t take us across the finish line, and vice versa. Tonight we had both.
Things got off to a shaking start when their lead-off batter singled up the middle and thoughts of yesterday repeating itself. Yesterday Penn State was 6-9 and scored four times resulting from getting that first man on. Tonight, being a whole different story, only managed one other time to get a man on first to lead off and both failed to score being involved with a DP. Karson was in total control for the 6.1 innings pitched never allowing a base runner to pass 2nd base.
While Karson was taming Lion’s bats, not so for the Canes. Edgardo Villegas, batting second, let it be known by seeing the first pitch and sending it 388 feet to right center, that we are here to play. Edgardo triumphantly rounded the bases with Dario Gomez leading the way reaching just prior on a throwing error by the SS. Miami took a 2-0 lead in the first and never looked back.
In the next couple of innings, we would continue to put base runners on but fail to get them across home plate. This is where the offense needs it most work. With runners in scoring position (RISP) we were only 2-10. Too many left stranded on base. In the second, men on 2nd and 3rd one out and nothing. The third, man on 3rd, no outs and again nothing.
The 4th, would put a temporary halt to leaving men stranded. The Lions would utilize three pitchers this inning hoping to stop the walk parade to first which would send the first two batters to first, resulting in a change of pitcher. Instead of a walk Edgardo settled for an RBI double and back to the walk routine coming after a WP for the second run. With a third pitcher coming in, Yoyo decided not to go the same way and instead singled in the third run. End of 4, Miami extended the lead 5-0.
The 5th would see possibly the longest shot out of the Light since anyone can remember. After the 410 shot last night, Zach upped the distance to an unbelievable 460 feet to left center. The 5th would also see what has stymied our offense; runners in scoring position with less than two outs and failing to bring them home. Even with this setback, Zack’s HR extended the lead 6-0.
In the 7th, Penn State having relieved our starter with a runner on second one out, took advantage of our BP to finally put some runs on the scoreboard. Rafe Schlesinger had the honor of serving up an RBI single to the first batter he faced. Run was charged to Karson. Miami would answer in the bottom of the inning with two runs of their own on a Carlos Perez RBI HR going 364 feet to right.
Rafe only stayed long enough facing two batters in the 7th to finish the inning. Rolando Gallo starts the 8th. While all his outs were via the K, he also gave up three hits, two included double and a single resulting in Penn State’s second run. Not to let them skate with a run, we answer with two of our own complimented by Zack’s second homer of the night rocketing 445 feet over the scoreboard finalizing the bounce-back performance 10-2.
It was a night the bats were hot and the starting pitcher was right on target. Nine hits total, five for extra bases of which 4 left the yard (Edgardo Villegas, Carlos Perez, Zach Leverson (2)). The other extra base hit was claimed by Edgardo who double back in the 4th collecting one of the two runs scored. Three players with multiple hits: Edgardo Villegas 2-5(double,HR,3RBIs); Carlos Perez 2-3(HR,2RBIs);Zach Leverson 2-4
This was Karson’s night-shining moment on the mound. Although his strikeout production wasn’t as great as he would have liked it only with two, not doing so, kept his pitch count low, and stayed in the game longer. Definitely a commendable performance. Rafe and Rolando will probably be getting the starting call for this mid-week showdown with Stetson and Indian State and I am still concerned about how far they can go in the game before having to be relieved. Still not feeling comfortable with either of them only for what they have shown during the preseason. Need to keep the BP as quiet as possible tomorrow because I expect to see them plenty come midweek. Still yet to see Walters and Walters which is a good thing.
Tomorrow for the series. Hopefully, now that the Sleeping Giant is awake, it will need to continue to do so. As Rosario is the probable starter, you don’t know what to expect when he takes to the mound. If we get early runs, which we better, this will settle Rosario and will keep him longer in the game. If we get a slow start, don’t expect as good a showing as we saw tonight.
Whichever Alejandro Rosario shows up, be there at 1PM tomorrow or I should say today at 1PM.