Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Despite the two HRs and 12 hits, Miami could not do anything right with runners in scoring position, two costly errors, and a depleted BP which included our closer not being able to close for his second consecutive outing. Miami used their full complement of available pitchers including one pitcher that has seen very limited action because the well had gone dry. Ronaldo Gallo needed to start strong and avoid what has plagued him all season: an early exit. He lasted 4 innings but at a cost of 2 HR accounting for three runs. Miami kept pace in paying catch up and had opportunity upon opportunity to blow the game wide open but for their inability to hit with RISP. Twelve left on base and having nothing to show from the 5th inning forward. A critical error in the 8th and a game-tying HR off our once unflappable closer in the 9th took the game into extra innings. A second costly error in the 11th set the wheels in motion for the Owls to load the bases with no outs. No pitching, not being able to hit with RISP, and critical errors spelled disaster and a very quiet bus ride home for a defeated Cane team that could not get the job done.
Miami opened strong with Yoyo’s 8th homer of the year to give the Cane’s an opening 2-0 lead. Ronaldo based on past performances would need all the help our offense could muster. Yoyo gave him two runs and the Owls quickly took one back on Nolan Schanuel’s 15th HR of the year. Miami escaping a lead-off double in the second was not as fortunate in the third with the Owls taking the lead with their 2nd HR with a man on. Having thrown 60 pitches through three, Ronaldo got to see the 4th on a 3-run breakaway inning that saw the cycle. Eight batters came to the plate starting with Zach leading off with a solo HR, Lorenzo Carrier with an RBI triple, Jack Scanlon with an RBI single with CJ completing the cycle with a double. Dario struck out with runners on 2nd and 3rd.
Every inning from the third through the 9th, runners in scoring position only to see a couple of DPs, strikeouts(10), and just not getting that critical hit providing scoreless inning one after the other.
Holding onto a 2-run lead since the 4th inning, Miami with two innings to take away the win opened the 8th with a strikeout. Rafe Schlesinger in relief for Alejandro Torres who pitched to one batter to end the 7th. Miami thinking the upcoming weekend and the need to Keep Torres fresh went with Rafe. After getting the initial strikeout, back-to-back singles followed by critical error #1. Blake Cyr what should have been an inning-ending DP mishandles the ball and the bases become loaded. Schlesinger is out and Walters is in. This is not the Andrew Walters of last year. Still our best, but no longer unstoppable. A 5-3 groundout pulls the Owls to within one.
The 9th on the first pitch, Jalen Debose on a 1-0 count ties the game with a yarder to left center. It was like deja vu from the Carolina game taking us into extra innings.
Even with all the screw-ups it looked like we just might pull it off in the 11th with a gutsy heads-up dash towards home by CJ on a WP. A close call at home ruled safe and the Canes take the lead into the bottom half of the 11th.
Not to be, Gunther Braendel in relief of Walters, didn’t get any help from the defense, opening the inning with a throwing error by Dominic to first. The Owls taking advantage of Miami’s #2 critical error of the game which would be the costlier of the two set in motion the final collapse. A Single putting runners on the corners. An intentional walk to load the bases with no outs, and Owls trailing by one. Braendel is out and Alex Walsh is in. Alex has seen limited action this season, last outing Mar 26 against Wake where he threw just 3 pitches. We had now reached the bottom of the availability of pitchers and the question is how healthy is Alex to come in at this point in the game. Walks in the tying run and after getting a strikeout for the first out, loses the next batter getting a ball 4 call on a full count. This was a hard-to-shallow loss; almost as bad as game two against Carolina.
Offensively, we hit but as usual never together to move the runners or end with DPs or striking out. As usual, we were in the game because of what we do best: the long ball. Two tonight but the Owls did one better with three. 4 Players in double figures: CJ Kayfus 2-4(double); Yoyo Morales 2-5
(double,HR,2RBIs); Zach Levenson 2-5(double,HR,RBI);Jack Scanlon 2-4 (double,RBI). Additionally Lorenzo Carrier 1-3(triple,RBI).
Defensively, two critical mistakes made the difference and made for a very unpleasant bus ride home. As I mentioned in my last report Blake has been amazing with the bat this year, but his play in the field has a lot of work that needs to be done. As for Dominic, absolutely no explanation. Always rock solid except for that play tonight setting the gears in motion in the 11th.
Lastly the pitching. I have said more than enough regarding our Achilles Heel which is only going to get worse in the series to come. How we can expect to put up a formidable rotation for this weekend is the million-dollar question. We are down to Pitching by Committee if Karson does not make his return with a BP that at best is in a struggling mode of operation
Georgia Tech is a Big Series and we need to be more than ready. First pitch 7PM