Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Miami goes airmail special six times and needed every HR to hold off the hard-charging Owls in the final innings to take home the win. Miami once again built up what should have been a sufficient spread only to see an 8-run lead slowly dwindle away with 5 unanswered runs. Andrew Walters had to come in the 8th with bases loaded to face off against one of the best hitters in college baseball with one just out.
With a weekend series against Louisville starting Thursday, Gino knew he was going to need every arm available and decided to utilize almost the entire BP not pitching more than 2 innings. With the exception of Andrew not one of the 8 pitchers who made the transit to the mound threw over 27 pitches. It seemed that every time the pitch count got to around 20, Gino would take his walk to the mound. Miami always seemed to have a fresh arm but it did not stop the Owls in their attack to get back in the ballgame. If not for the 6 runs mega explosion of 4 HRs in the fourth inning, three being back-to-back, I would be spinning another tale of how the BP once again totally collapsed blowing a staggering lead. What should have been an evening off for Andrew turned out to be anything else.
After a draught of only seeing one HR the entire GT series, CJ Kayfus got right back on the express train opening the game with a 339′ whistleblower over the fence in left. Whether this rattled starter Dylan Osborne, he was unable to find the strike zone walking the next 4 batters. Here was the opportunity to break the game wide open with bases loaded one out and two runs already on the board. Time to make a decisive statement, instead Ian Farrow strikes out looking and Dominic Pitelli hits into a 4-6-3 DP.
The Owls got one of the two runs back in the 2nd with a leadoff double. Fans were a bit surprised to see Gino so early in the game come out and relieve Chris Scinta after just 18 pitches. This would be the format used for the entire game of minimum pitches not exceeding 20 with the exception of Ben Chestnutt and Andrew Walters. Gino always seemed to make the move to match the hitter and the pitcher (right/left). This didn’t seem to work as expected. Ben ended up walking the batter he came in to pitch against and then got the Owls back into the game with an RBI single.
With the score at 2-1, Miami answered back in the bottom half of the inning still taking advantage of the FAU starter with back-to-back singles by Carrier and Lopez (RBI), walking Edgardo and finalizing his day with a 3 RBI HR by Yoyo traveling to left center 403′. 6-1 end of two.
Not to be outdone in the HR dept, after Chestnutt walked two, John Schroeder delivers a HR for the Owl to narrow the score to within 2 runs separating the two. That would mark the end of Ben’s day after managing to get the second out and Gino back out to work the hitter/pitcher matchup. Rolando Gallo gets the call and of the relievers gave the best showing throwing 20 pitches and not allowing a hit/walk for 1.2 innings.
Gallo kept the Owls off the board in the 4th and Miami’s 4th had the fans in a frenzy watching 4 HRs clear the fence after Carlos Perez opened the 4th with a single. Back to the top of the order CJ starts the run of HRs traveling 371’to left. After Edgardo’s single and a change of pitchers, it became HR Derby with back-to-back-to-back HRs by Yoyo, Zach, and Blake to add 6 more runs to the already 6 runs putting the spread at 12-4.
Like we have seen all too often this year, no lead is great enough to confirm a win. Such again was the case tonight in the Owls with 5 unanswered runs. They picked up two in the 5th off of Rafe Schlesinger who relieved Gallo on a 2 run homer. Two more in the 7th off of Alex Walsh on a SF and RBI single. Edgardo saved 2 more runs being attached grabbing a fly to center that had HR written all over it but a leaping catch at the fence brought the ball back in play for the final out of the inning. The 8-run margin has dwindled to 4 with the threat of more coming.
Alejandro Torres is now on the mound having got the final out in the 7th ready to close the door once and for all. Instead proceeds to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate. No more playing around. Torres out and Walters is in to face one of the premiere hitters in college baseball. Nolan Schanuel batting .453 coming into tonight’s contest with one hit already tonight with 15 HRs to his credit. Mano a mano. The best of the best. Everyone in the stadium holding their breath on the edge of their seats to watch the faceoff of the night. Tonight, it was Andrew to come out on top with a 4 pitch strikeout swinging. Owls would pick up a run following the strikeout in a 9-pitch showdown before Andrew hitting Dylan Goldstein. Bases still loaded, one run in, strikes out John Schroeder who had doubled and homer earlier. This was the Andrew Walters of last year’s vintage at his very best.
With the lead having all but disappeared having led at one point by 8 runs, it was time for Andrew to put this baby to bed which he did in Andrew fashion striking out the final two of three batters faced. Miami takes away a heart-stopper 12-9 to split the series at a pair apiece.
Offensively, it was an evening of mass fire firepower. If you like offense, this was certainly your game tonight. 8 HRs in total,6 by Miami. 21 total hits and runs between the two. Everyone in the starting rotation with at least one hit with the exception of Dominic who did not even reach base. Three with multiple numbers: Carlos Perez 3-4(RBI); CJ Kayfus 2-5 (2HRs,3RBIs); and player of the Game Yoyo Morales 2-4(2HRs,5RBIs). Blake Cyr(2RBIs) and Zach Leverson(RBI) each with a HR. 10 of the 12 runs tonight via the shots in orbit. As so often stated: this team lives on its ability to launch into space.
It is definitely not the pitching from the BP as seen again tonight. Andrew is not in this discussion because he is in a class by himself. As for the rest of the BP, they keep on giving up the runs. The only pitchers tonight to escape having been scored upon were Rolando Gallo who pitched 1.1 innings and threw 20 pitches and Carlos Lequerica also 1.1 innings and 17 pitches.
Minimum pitch count by everyone because we are going to need everyone available this weekend in Louisville starting Thurs. 7PM.