Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
The Hurricanes take the series but Georgia Tech avoided the sweep by out-hitting us by a margin of almost 2-1 (27-15) and if for not the large lead in the first game of the double bill, this could have been an entirely different story. The difference in the opener was and has been our lifesaver all season: the long ball. Due to travel restrictions, the second game was cut short after 6 innings but like the first game, it was the pitching that almost lost a 7-run lead late in the game. The Canes survived game one because Tech ran out of innings and Andrew was able to pull the iron out of the fire. However, in the second game, pitching got us so deep in the hole that the Cane’s offense was unable to respond. Each time the offense struggled to get back in the game a combination of the BP failing to hold and sloppy defense only widened the margin.
After a two-hour delay Saturday night for rain and lightning in the area, the decision was made for a DH to be played starting at 11AM with a 5:15 curfew due to travel scheduling. Alejandro Rosario was scheduled to pitch Saturday night and the return of Karson Ligon for Sunday. Due to illness, pitching assignments were switched with Karson pitching game one of what was to be a DH Sunday morning. The two-week layoff due to tendinitis was clearly evident in Karson’s performance showing rust in his delivery and he struggled for the 4 innings that he pitched allowing for a pair of runs in the second and third each with lead-off doubles. Miami was holding onto a 1 run lead into the fifth after putting up one in the first on a one-out double by Edgardo and brought in by Blake coming through with two out RBI single. In the second inning, Tech ran into pitching problems with their starter loading the bases with two walks and a HP. Edgardo walked with BL for the first run followed by Yoyo singling to right for the second run. Bases are still loaded and what should have been a SF to center turned into a 7-2 DP.
The 5th would be the difference in the final outcome. Blake Cyr with his 11th homer of the year took a 0-1 count and drilled the ball to right center (382′) for the only HR of the day for the Canes but it would prove to be the difference maker in the final outcome of game one. Blake picked up a three spot in bringing in Edgardo and Yoyo along for the ride. The following inning another trio of runs on a BL RBI double by Yoyo and Dominic also with BL walking in the third run of the inning.
At the end of 6, Miami comfortably held a 9-2 lead but the BP as we have seen all too often unable to hold. Ben Chestnutt in relief of Karson self-destructed in the 7th with 3 runs on a trio of singles, WP, and a walk. The following inning Alejandro Torres couldn’t do much better with back-to-back doubles and a single narrowing the margin from a seven-run differential to two and barely holding on. Still had our ace in the hole and brought out Andrew to stop the bleeding which he did with a strikeout to end the 8th and taking the Yellow Jackets down in order to conserve the win and the series.
Thankfully Blake Cyr’s 3-run homer in the 5th would be the difference maker in the 2-run differential which our BP almost blew another large lead. Last week it was Carolina blowing a 6-run lead and losing in extra innings and this week losing to FAU dropping a pair of runs in the final two innings and losing in extra innings. Today, the BP almost did the same with Tech’s 5-run rally in the final two innings.
In the second game of the DH, there was no life preserver to bail out our pitiful pitching staff. Alejandro Rosario, as uncertain and unpredictable on who will show up to pitch showed us the ugly side today. He did not even last through the 3rd inning giving up 6 runs on 8 hits. It was evident in the first inning on which Alejandro came to pitch today opening with back-to-back singles and before the dust cleared a third single scoring two. That is how it started and it was downhill from there.
Miami managed to answer back to tie the score in the second on an RBI single by Ian Farrow and SF by Lorenzo Carrier. The tie would not last but for one inning. In the third, stricken by Rosario imploded on opening back-to-back singles, getting rattled fumbling with the ball hit back to him on what should have been a DP, then following it up with another single for two runs finalizing his implosion with a 2-run homer to left. Before Gino decided to finally put this horror story to rest with another single and walk. When Rosario self-destructs, he self-destructs in a grandiose fashion. Six runs on 8 hits. Who does Gino go with but the other pitcher known for his self-destruction, Ronaldo Gallo. He lasted .2 innings after what he does best, giving up a HR
By the end of the 3 and 1/2 innings Miami was down by 5 runs and the clock was ticking towards the 5:15 stoppage of play. For the briefest of time, the offense had a wake-up call scoring 3 runs. Back-to-back singles by Ian and Lorenzo with Perez walking to load the bases. Edgardo followed with a 2RBI single and Yoyo singled to center scoring Perez. However, Edgardo got caught 8-5 trying to stretch Yoyo’s hit attempting to go to third ending the rally. It brought the Canes to within 2, but they were now fighting the clock with less than 30 minutes before curfew.
The 6th totally ate away the clock. Chris Scinta, the latest from the BP relieving Carlos Lequerica for the final out in the 5th. Tech would send 8 batters to the plate. 2 runs on three hits, which included a triple, Scinta finally ended the 8 man marathon with a bases-loaded strikeout.
Miami would need a Mark Light Miracle in the grandest way to pull off the 4-run deficit our BP had put us in. It wasn’t just the pitching that put us where we were but our hitting being outslugged 13 hits to 7 without an extra base to show for it. The Canes performed like they did the entire game with the exception of the third inning going down in order as the clock ran out.
Whether the team could have bounced back from a 4-run deficit in the 3 innings left unplayed will remain unanswered. With no BP and the hitting as sporadic as it was, chances are doubtful. Doubtful because of so many mental mistakes defensively with poor fielding, running, and limited hitting. Not an extra-base hit the entire game but you could never say never. Baseball is so unpredictable except for our pitching.
Pitching or the lack of is going to follow us and will get progressing worse as the season winds down. Right now it looks like Gage on the front end and Andrew on the back end are the only two we can rely upon even though Andrew is not as effective as he was last year. Everyone in between is highly questionable. Karson hopefully will come around and needs to shake off the rust, but Rosario is a crapshoot on who shows up to play. Our hitting has to be more consistent in being able to move the line around the bases. Defensively Cyr playing second and Carrier in right one has to hold on’s breath every time a ball is hit towards them. Blake has no arm, is terrible at executing a DP, and Lorenzo just does not field the position well; misjudging the ball or not being able to cover the ground to make the out. Their hitting is what keeps them both in the lineup
Next up is FAU on Tuesday 6PM and the Canes need to bounce back after their disappointing showing earlier this week at Boca. Then it is on to Louisville for our next ACC confrontation.