Canes Baseball: Canes Win Rubber Match 3-2, On Kayfus Walkoff 2-Run Homer

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
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In the long history of Mark Light Miracles, we can add a new chapter today in what was one of the sweetest reversals of getting down to the final out and looking at the initial series loss of the season. A game where the offensive machine for the second time this weekend failed to show up for the game. Opportunities presented themselves throughout the game with runners in scoring position and failed to materialize that needed hit to bring across a run. Five times we were set up with less than 2 outs and failed to come away with anything for it. The offense struggled throughout and the only thing keeping us afloat, as amazing as it might seem, was our pitching. Starter Alejandro Rosario gave us 5 innings allowing for Penn State’s only runs, but it was the BP that gave us our shining moments. Chris Scinta in relief of Rosario was probably the turning point in the ballgame. BL in the 6th, 3-0 count on the Nittany Lions best hitter, Jay Harris, Chris throws 3 straight strikes with the final strike having Harris looking. The 7th inning brought in the Walter Brothers who carried the weight through the final two innings collecting 5 strikeouts along the way. The 9th trailing by one, it appeared all was lost going into the final out. Up steps CJ Kayfus, who had a rough day in the field, and with one swing of the bat, coming on the first pitch, a new chapter to the Book of Miracles is written.

Gino had two lineup changes from the previous two games. Zach Levenson moved up one slot batting 5th behind Yoyo and freshman Blake Cyr played second batting 7th in lieu of Dorian Gonzalez.

The question on everyone’s mind was which Alejandro Rosario will show up for today’s game. What should have been asked was where all that offensive punch has gone which saw 4 HRs Saturday and 7 during the course of the series. It appeared that the Sleeping Giant had finally awoken Saturday night only to see it slip once again into hibernation.

Miami was on a roll last night and it would appear that they would strike first by scoring first in the opening inning. Instead, it would be the beginning of a long chain of missed opportunities of going 1-10 with RISP. 6 times we got our initial batter to reach base. Of the six, only once did we take advantage of this and we had to wait until the 9th to do so. Even with that happening, we found a way to have it almost blow up in our faces. Only through the grace of the Miracle Maker did we overcome this adversity.

Failure of the offense to produce started in the first with one out, man on second: Nada. In the second, man on 1st and 2nd no-outs: Nada. The 4th, 1st and 2nd one out, which eventually took it to BL two outs: Nada. The sixth, trailing 2-0, the drought finally ended with a one-out single by Ian Farrow. Advancing to second on an attempted pickoff getting by the first baseman (E1), Blake Cyr with his second hit of the day driving the ball after a long 3-2 battle for an RBI single to put us within one.

Penn State drew first blood in the second with a WP bringing home the runner from 3rd. That was the 1st inning that Alejandro showed signs of crumbling. He recorded the 1st two outs followed by a 5 pitch walk, following it up with a single up the middle putting runners on the corners. WP bought in the 1st run and it appeared it was the beginning of the end especially after walking the next batter. Recovered nicely striking out the final batter to end the inning. In the 4th, Penn State struck again with a lead-off single on a swinging bunt down the 3rd base line. He would eventually score on a two-out RBI single to center.

In the 8th, once again the offensive machine shut down after Yoyo opened the inning by going opposite field for a leadoff single. Zach walked putting us once again with men in scoring position. Fly out to center advanced Yoyo to third. Zach tried to draw the throw to second after Blake strikes out to bring Yoyo home but they refused to take the bait and we had runners on 2nd and 3rd two out. Jack Scanlon coming in to replace Carlos in the 7th ends another opportunity to tie or even give us the lead by popping up to third.

Finally, got to see the Walter Brothers in action with Brian coming in to relieve Chris Scinta with one out in the 7th. Shades of Andrew striking out the next two he faced. The 8th opened with an E3 and a walk and then comes for the familiar call that we saw all of last year: The Closer. Big Brother only needed 8 pitches to collect three out, two coming by way of strikeout. The 9th an opening single to leadoff hitter Jay Harry brings the meat of the order to the plate. In typical Andrew style: strikeout, strikeout, strikeout.

Trailing 2-1, it was: do or die. Dominic Pitelli opens with a single to left. You could feel the change in the atmosphere from the fans in the stands to the players in the dugout. As quickly as the excitement came it swiftly vanished with Dario Gomez failing to SAC Dominic to second and got caught looking on an attempted bunt which was possibly a missed signal from Gino catching Dominic on the attempted steal. Found it odd that Dominic would even attempt the steal with the count 3-1. Dario could take the 3rd strike looking and you could feel the mood swinging once again to discouragement. The inflated balloon suddenly deflated. Edgardo with the bases now cleared with two outs brings life back to the Miami hopeful with a single to left center. Still hanging on by a thread, CJ Kayfus walks to the plate and it is the walk he won’t forget. Having gone 1-11 in the series his day would suddenly change and Miami Magic would strike. First pitch, exit the ball 405′ foot shot to the second deck of the parking garage. What remained of the 3149 explosive fans rocked the stadium as a new page was written into the Book of Miracles as the Magic rocks Mark Light Field.

It was not a very good day offensively as they could never get into the rhythm. The word this season is that “we will go only as far as the offense will take them”. That was not the case today. It was the pitching that kept us in the game until CJ having a frustrated series changed it all. After seeing 7 HRs in the first two games it was struggle to even see a hit. Only three hits through five and no runs to show for it. The awakening started in the 6th with a pair of hits and a run and finalized it in the 9th. Two players with multiple numbers: Zach Levenson 2-3 and Blake Cyr 2-4 (RBI). The only extra-base hit and the most important one was the one that captured the series for the Miami Hurricanes. CJ Kayfus going 1-4 but the one was THE ONE.

Pitching kept us in the game until our Power Boys, who decided to take the day off, decided to come and play. Alejandro gave us 5.1 innings which was a major plus. Although he gave up the Nittany Lions only two runs he recorded 6 strikeouts but also gave up 4 hits and 4 walks. Still, he maintained a viable presence through five. The BP carried it to the finish allowing just two hits, two walks, 8 strikeouts, 7 from the Walter Brothers, and no runs.

With the first series win under our belts, we move on to two mid-week games (Tues,Wed) both starting at 6PM. Expect Ronaldo Gallo and Rafe Schlesinger to get the starting call. 


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