Canes Baseball: Miami Defeats Duke 10-8 In 11

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

Do you believe in Miracles? Hollywood could not have written a better script. The Cardiac Kids pulled the ultimate in Mark Light Magic coming back from 5 runs in the 8th to tie the score in the 9th being one out away from losing their first series of the season at the Light. A walk-off HR in the 11th has given New Life to the Canes in keeping alive of hosting a Regional. As for seating in the Tournament, there are still many variables at play, but the bottom line is that the team must continue to play with a sense of urgency and not falter coming down to the home stretch.

After coming off their worst defeat of the season where they could only garnish 3 hits in a 5-3 loss, it appeared that they were heading down the same road through the first 7 innings. Trailing by 5 runs on just 4 hits Miami just couldn’t stop the runaway train of the Blue Devils. They quickly took advantage of starter Alejandro Rosario with two runs on four hits in the first inning. The first four batters he faced made him look like he was providing batting practice for them (double, single, single, double). In the second inning, although not giving up a run he continued to show his ineffectiveness as a starting pitcher opening with a single, WP, a walk, and hit batter to load the bases before getting the final out to deep right. 

While Rosario continued to struggle in his attempt to keep base runners off the pads, the Miami hitters just didn’t seem to be playing that their entire season was riding on this game. The sense of urgency was not there. As the game progressed, you looked at the differences coming from the two dugouts. Duke players were at a fever’s pitch with a high decibel level while the Canes were quiet as a tombstone. Trailing 2-0 at the end of the first and not being able to capitalize on a BL situation had the fans shaking their heads as they started seeing the handwriting on the wall. 

Fans started paying attention in the 3rd after seeing Rosario getting taken out being caught with a line drive to end the inning 1-5-3. He was in a great deal of pain and it probably would have been his last inning after another disappointing start. Maybe his going down was a rallying call for the offense to show a bit of life. Edgardo opened the inning with the Cane’s first hit of the night, followed two batters later with Hollywood’s 15th round tripper sailing 405’to left center to tie the game at two.

Ben Chestnutt in relief of the injured Rosario was greeted in the 4th by having his chestnuts roasted with three runs on 4 hits highlighted by a three-run homer to give Duke a 5-2 lead. Canes got one of the three back in the 5th  With a lead off double by Edgardo, advancing to third on a PB and scoring on a WP.

Chestnutt continued being roasted in the 6th with 3 consecutive singles along with a walk to load the bases already having given up a run on the third single. Rafe Schlesinger was brought in to try to hold back the runaway train but failed to do so walking in two more runs each on a 5 pitch count. Both runs charged to Chestnutt. With the score 8-3, the fans disheartened from the lackluster performance of the Canes started exiting at the end of the 7th. Duke hitters were destroying Miami pitching with 8 runs on 12 hits to just Miami’s 4 hits.

With just two innings left trailing by 5, the Cardiac Kids started getting their act into gear not only with the bat but on the mound as well. the 8th exploded with 3 runs on 4 hits. Carlos Perez had to settle for a SF to left just missing a grand slam by inches (on the warning track). This brought the Canes to within two, but only had one inning to make up the difference. 

The runaway train that the Blue Devils were riding with 8 runs on 12 hits came to a crashing stop in the 7th when Miami relievers of Schlesinger, Gallo, and Walters held them to a lone double coming in the 8th.

The 9th it got down to the final out with bases loaded. An E6 earlier on a Zach popup would prove detrimental to the final outcome. Two strikes away from victory, Renzo Gonzalez comes through on a 0-1 count with a single to right scoring Blake and Zach (both unearned) to tie the score at 8. The Duke dugout and their fans were in total shock watching a 5 run lead dissolve to nothing in a matter of two innings with two strikes away from clinching the series.

With New Life, Miami almost ended it in the 10th, with CJ leading off with a double, advancing to 3rd of a SAC E1 putting runners on the corners with no outs. Yoyo was intentionally walked to load the bases. Cyr’s hit back to the pitcher 1-2 was reviewed contesting the catcher was pulled away from home plate on the throw home. Call upheld. Still BL one out. Zach called out on strikes on a disputed full count call which would have walked in the winning run. Two outs and Pitelli flies out to center taking the game into the 11th.

After Andrew strikes out the sides in order in the 11th, the Mark Light Miracle denied in the 10th would be no more.  Carlos Perez lit the light on a 2-2 count, being denied the GS in the 8th, would be denied no more with HR #13 going to the Parking Garage in right making it the most Magical Moment of the Season. Do you Believe in Miracles? We saw one tonight.

Miami hitting could not do much of anything in the first 7 innings. Then the bats explode for 8 hits and the Duke bats remained silent. Leading the charge were 4 with multiple hits: CJ Kayfus 2-6(double, RBI); Edgardo Villegas 2-4(double); Dominic Pitelli 2-6; co-player of the game Renzo Gonzalez 3-5( 3RBIs)to tie the game. Sharing the honor has to be Carlos Perez with his walk-off game-winning HR. Only 1-4 with a SF to his credit but oh what a shot to right the lit-up the Stadium of those who stuck around.

The time to celebrate is over. There is still work to be done. Tomorrow is a must-win for all that was stated in the opening paragraph. Pitching is definitely going to have its work cut out for them. With no real starter to choose from the BP is going to have to reach deep and the bats most definitely stay in emergency mode. This will be no easy task, but will see how badly they want it with first pitch at 1PM.


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