Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
CHOP, CHOP SWEEP, SWEEP!! How sweet it is. Not since 1999 has the Noles been SWEPT in Coral Gables. Two years later we did likewise on their home turf, but it didn’t get any sweeter than the year 2023. Alejandro Rosario dominated on the mound today striking out an all-time high of 12 Noles and completing also an all-time high 8 innings. Complemented with offensive power of 13 runs on 12 hits, three going for yard, the Noles were handed a scalping they won’t easily forget. All weekend long, the pitching has been stellar, and easily all three pitchers could share in being ACC Pitchers of the Week. Zack Levenson, a triple from completing the cycle had one of his best days going 3-4 collecting 4 RBIs as did Yoyo Morales also with a 3-4 day with a pair of RBIs. Joining the fab duo was Dominic Pitelli who seems to thrive off Nole pitching had a second day of going 2-4 and today topped it with his 4th HR of the year. The team overall hit .353 while Alejandro held the Noles to just batting .125. Other than the 4th inning, the one hiccup in the game, the Noles had little to cheer about and will have an entire year with the stain they leave behind wondering what went wrong. Specifically, it was clearly evident: NO pitching, NO hitting, NO fielding. Our hitters and definitely our pitchers took full advantage in making this SWEEP one we can long remember.
Gino stated after the game: “I can’t recall the last time we had three starters all pitch into the eighth. Those are the three best starts I can recall here. They definitely set the tone for the weekend.”
The only change to the lineup was moving Dorian to batting 9th. He is in the lineup for his defensive play and not his hitting. If Blake could only field, he would be playing second instead and not DH. This is unfortunate because of not able to utilize Ian Farrow as much as they would like.
The big question mark for today was how far Alejandro would be able to pitch before receiving his untimely exit. No one in the fondest dreams expected 7 solid innings and were pleasantly surprised. Except for the 4th inning which looked like the Rosario we have been seeing all season, this man was on a whole different plain today controlling the Nole hitters top to bottom. With the pitching performances of Ligon and Ziehl this is now a trio that can stand up to any in the Conference
The first three innings flew by for the Noles not seeing their first hit until opening the 3rd inning. Through three innings only needed 32 pitches to retire the side. While Florida State was slow to get started, The Canes did not hesitate to take a 4-0 lead by the end of the third. An RBI double by Zach in the first scoring CJ from third from an initial walk and advancing to third on an E5 resulting from a Yoyo grounder. Opportunity lost in the first for more runs with runners on 2nd and 3rd one out and failing to respond. Even with all the runs we have been scoring the one specific issue that continues to haunt this team is not being able to move runners and score with less than two outs and RISP.
The second inning added three more to the one from the first to make it a 4-0 game. Same issue as not getting the runner home when in scoring position. A strikeout is usually the common offender. CJ broke the trend with an RBI single scoring Carlos from second having reached base by being hit. Runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out, Edgardo could not get the ball in play, striking out. Fortunately, Yoyo took care of business with a single to center scoring two. Third inning, more scoring opportunities. BL one out (two walks and a Pitelli double) Dorian hits into a 5-3 DP. This would be the first of four DPs for the day. In the following three innings, the Canes would experience a similar fate(DP,DP,DP)
The 4th inning looked like the end of the road for Alejandro. He looked like the product of what we had been seeing all year. With a 4-0 lead, Gino held off. Alejandro up to the 4th was solid only throwing 32 pitches, striking out 3, and only allowing one hit. The 4th started with his 4th strikeout and then things started crashing for him and the Nole fans had their only chance with the Tomahawk Chant and chop. Very irritating to say the least.Two singles and a walk to load the bases. Cam Smith their star freshman 3b, triples clearing the bases and the Nole fans celebrated. WP follows and the score is tied at 4. By inning end pitch count at 58 and Cane fans were wondering whether there would be an inning 5 for Alejandro Rosario.
Believe a lot was decided based on the Canes responding with 3 runs to answer the 4 from the top of the inning. A DP 4-3 erased an opening single from CJ. The second DP in two innings. Bases cleared as a result of Edgardo’s at-bat, Yoyo restarts with a single, his second hit of the game, bringing Zack “attack” Levenson to the plate who was followed by Blake “Hollywood” Cyr. CHOP! CHOP! HR(409′), HR(388′) as the duo provided verse of their own to the Nole’s rallying chant. Their fans went into shock and never heard from them
To everyone’s surprise, Edgardo came out of the dugout to pitch the 5th. Over the course of the next 4 innings, Alejandro would strike out 7, and not allow a single runner to reach base. Striking out the last two batters faced, Alejandro would end his day with 12 Ks, relinquishing 4 hits and a single walk. All 4 runs were scored in the 4th.
Prior to the DP ending the 6th, Zach would pick up his 4th RBI with an RBI single scoring Edgardo and Yoyo who both walked earlier.
In the 8th inning, the Noles completely self-destructed, ALL coming after recording two outs. Yoyo doubles, Zach intentionally walked (missing his opportunity of hitting for the cycle), PB, Zack steals, and Cyr walks (BL). WP(Yoyo scoring), Dario walks(BL). WP( Zack scoring, ending with a 381′ 3 RBI CHOP, CHOP, CHOP to right by Dominic ending the bloodbath of the 8th with 5 runs.
Alejandro Torres came out in the 9th, to seal the SWEEP.
Offensively, it was quite the day with 13 runs 12 hits, and another multi-HR day with 3 accounting for 6 of the 13 runs. Four players with a multi-hit day: CJ Kayfus 2-4(RBI);Yoyo Morales 3-4(double,2RBIs); Dominic Pitelli 2-4(double,HR,2RBIs); Player of the Day Zach Levenson 3-4(double,HR,4RBIs). Blake Cyr got his 7th HR of the year.
What more can be said about what a great day Alejandro Rosario had as did all our starters this weekend? What made it especially nice was that it was against Florida State.
Hopefully, they can keep the momentum going over the next two weekends against Coastal leading Virginia and the following weekend against NC who are just behind us in third position. Right now we are tied with Virginia at 8-4 but they have the better overall record at 24-4. NC is 6-4 in Conference play. Before looking ahead, we first have a game Tuesday night with UCF starting time 6PM.