Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Before a sold-out crowd of 3,555 enthusiastic fans, they were treated to a season-ending celebration sending our departing seniors off in style and where all the key elements, pitching/hitting fell into place. In a closely contested game Friday night and being granted a new life, the Canes came into today’s contest riding a high that they never came down from. They were playing with a swagger determined to maintain not having lost a home series this season but more importantly the possibility of hosting a Regional and 4th seeding at the Tournament. Today’s winner would definitely be in the driver’s seat to do just that. Miami came out strong putting runners in scoring position the first two innings and capitalizing in the third on a Duke error into a BL Grand Slam to take the early lead 4-0. Duke bounced back with their first and what would be their only score taking advantage of a Miami error which should have been a DP but instead had runners on the corners. SF to right brought the score to 4-1 only to see it bounce back to a 4-run differential on Miami’s second homer of the day. The Cane hitters were on an absolute tear exploding in the 7th and 8th with five more runs to put the final nail in the Blue Devil’s coffin. The Miami BP was masterful at holding Duke to just that one unearned run in the 4th and keeping them to 6 scattered hits. This was a BP that had no semblance of what they looked like all year. Ronaldo Gallo started and never looked better pitching 3 innings, and only allowing one hit. This was the Gallo everyone was looking for but never finding all season. Lequerica and Torres locking down the Duke hitters sending it over to Andrew needing just 8 pitches to secure the victory. Miami enters as the 4th seed and will be paired with Duke and NCS in the Tournament. We are in the Driver’s seat and hopefully, we will continue to ride the wave
Miami did not waste any time putting runners on base in the 1st and 2nd but it wasn’t until the 3rd that we were able to capitalize with Zach’s 12 homer off the scoreboard but more importantly with three on to give the Canes a 4-0 lead. The mood in the dugout was totally different from the previous two games up until the walk-off HR in the 11th by Carlos. The amazing finish carried over into today’s game as did the deflated Blue Devils that never seemed to recover.
Duke did show a bit of spark in the 4th taking advantage of an E4 error and turning it into their only run with a SF. The Canes answered with CJ’s 12th of the season to take the lead back to 4.
Neither team scored in the 5th and 6th and Blake put us back on the board with a two-run shot to left center traveling 392′, his 16 of the year. For good measure, Carlos connected with a two-RBI double in the 8th scoring Carrier and Long. Back to the top of the order CJ did not let Carlos remain long on second with a double of his own extending the lead to 10-1 which not even the Duke hitters come back on. Mainly because they had to face our Closer Mr Walters who made short work of them on 8 pitches.
Offensively, whatever they had for breakfast was loaded with raw power. Once again it was downtown as our calling card accounting for 7 of our 10 runs. All but Villegas and Carrier had at least a hit in the starting nine with three coming in with multiple numbers: Yoyo Morales 2-4(Double); Blake Cyr 2-3(HR,2RBIs); and player of the game CJ Kayfus 4-5 . (double,HR,3RBIs). Additionally with a double: Carlos Perez(2RBIs) and with a HR: Zach Leverson(4RBIs)
The BP never looked sharper. Ronaldo Gallo even with a 1+08 lightning delay remained in the game and pitched as strong as he did in the first going three innings with only a single to mar his outing. Lequestica and Torres took the baton on and raced for home letting Andrew cross the finish line in grand fashion
It is on to Durham and hopefully, they will stay on top of this wave they are riding all the way to the finals. In the last two tournaments, it was two and out. This year we are definitely looking to do much better. If the BP can pitch as well as they did today, they will be back at the Light in two weeks hosting a Regional. Duke might have something other to say about that after a crushing defeat on Friday and being humiliated today. The schedule has yet to be set but I am guessing Duke will play NCS on Tuesday and our first game will be Wednesday. That will give our pitchers an extra day of rest. Being the 4th seed, we own the tiebreaker which is another reason why today’s win was so important. Looking at the Pool, we are definitely in the toughest bracket with Wake appearing to have the easiest. However, anything can and will happen come next week.