Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Miami in a nail-biter of a game takes it down to the final pitch with bases loaded with the tying run on third. Miami has struggled all season away from the Light and took an early lead on the second pitch of the game. CJ Kayfus baptized Tucker Bivens in his first career start and was welcomed into the
ACC with a 369′ CJ Special to left. By the 5th inning, the run differential was three but as seen more times than I care to write about, unable to keep the spread. A strong 6th by the Cardinals drove Gage Ziehl from the mound after he struggled throwing 29 pitches and just like that a 3-run lead becomes none. Stayed tied until the 8th when Gaby Gutierrez, PH for Lorenzo Carrier, cold from the bench and records Miami’s 6th hit of the game but by far the most important in that it gave the Canes the lead with a single to left scoring Edgardo on a close call at the plate. Andrew holding onto a one-run lead is sent in to shut the door. Not looking as sharp as normal struggled with his control walking two ( his 5th and 6th of the year) giving up a hit to load the bases with a pair of outs. Jack Payton, catcher and clean up hitter, 1-3 today stepped up to the plate. His throwing error in the 5th cost them two runs and put them in a do-or-die situation. Hero or goat?
Rain-threatened skies had the game moved up from a 7PM start to 4. Once again the Canes were fighting the clock. Today, fighting a rain postponement vs a traveling curfew that they had Sunday with GT. Miami got off to a quick start on the 2nd pitch of the game with #11 for CJ. This would be the only homer for the day. The rest was by way of small ball but more importantly, a costly error that made the difference in the final outcome. Gage Ziehl coming off his best pitch game of his career allowing just two hits looked really sharp in the 1st striking out 2 of the 3 batters faced.
As good as he looked in the first, opened the 2nd with a pair of hits, equalling his total of last week, and had runners on 2nd and 3rd. SF to left tied the score which would remain until the 5th.
Both pitchers settled down for the next two innings with the Cardinal’s starter retiring 9 straight before giving up a walk. Blake Cyr in the third made the defensive play of the game which would have ramifications toward the final score. Louisville opened the third with a double. A hard shot aimed to go through the middle was cut off with a diving grab by Blake not only preventing a run but doubling up the runner at second. The play would definitely be a game-changer.
The breaks were definitely not going the way for the Cardinals as THE game-changer cost them the game. Miami had men on 1st and second one out the top of the 5th. A tapper in front of the plate by Carrier, the throw to first by the Catcher is way off the mark,E2, scoring two runs and Carrier standing on third. Top of the order and CJ with his second hit of the day scoring Carrier from third. the two-run error gave Miami a 4-1 lead.
Louisville managed to get back one of the runs in their half of the 5th with a leadoff double followed by an RBI single. Not to be outdone, Miami took back the one run in the 6th with an RBI double by Zach giving once again a 3-run differential.
No lead is safe when it comes to the Canes no matter how large it might be. Just when you think they have the game in hand, poof, all gone. So it was in the 6th. Gage tiring started losing control of the strike zone walking two, hitting a batter, and giving up an RBI single, followed by a 2 RBI double. Carlos Lequerica had to be brought in to put an end to the bleeding.
With the score still tied at 5 into the 8th, Miami manages a pair of walks (Edgardo & Blake) with two outs. On the announcement of Renzo Gonzalez,PH, for Carrier, a chess match ensued between the managers with a pitching change and Gino making his move switching out Renzo for Gaby Gutierrez. Gaby swings on a 1-0 pitch driving the ball to left for an RBI single scoring Edgardo who was the FINAL difference maker.
Holding a now one-run lead, Alejandro Torres finishes the 8th, turning the ball over to Andrew to take it on home. As it turned out it was not a typical 1,2,3 at bat. Andrew struggled not looking all that sharp at times, walking two, which he never does, and turning away a hit to having a BL situation with two outs. Right out of a Hollywood script, the person who put Louisville into this predicament with his two-run throwing error had a chance to redeem himself. Works himself into a 2-2 count and Andrew throws him the Walter’s special striking him out for his 4th save in the last 5 games. With the final pitch of the game, the heavens opened up.
Offensively, not much of a showing. Just 6 hits for the entire day with only two extra-base hits: Zach Levenson (double); CJ Kayfus 2-5(HR,2RBIs). Yoyo going 0-2 (DP,2walks,K) ends his 14-game hit streak.
Gage, nothing like last Friday, still managed to give us 5.1 innings and minimum usage of the BP. Everyone will be available to pitch for tomorrow. As to who will start is a question mark. Possibly we won’t be seeing Karson this weekend. Talk of him not being 100% but we will just have to wait for 1st pitch 6PM, barring the weather.