Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Miami unceremoniously was swept away in Charlottesville for their 9th loss on the road this season with just two wins. The last time Virginia swept the Canes you have to go back to 2012 at the Light. Between Florida, Wake, and now Virginia Miami just continues to show that they can not compete against the Big Boys away from their home turf. Coupled with no pitching and no support coming from the bats only spelled another loss. This team lives or dies by its ability to pound out HRs, but with none today and just two for the entire series, the offense just can not sustain quality hits to put enough runs on the board. The two HRs today off the bat of Jake Gelof spelled the difference accounting for 4 runs. As Gino stated after the game ” They outplayed us. “We didn’t walk a whole lot and we struck out a lot. They are tough at-bats. They are tough outs. They battle, foul pitches off and take you deep into counts. We have to play better on the road.” AMEN
With nowhere to turn for a starting pitcher, Gino turned to Alejandro Torres who had already pitched yesterday afternoon for almost 2 innings. Retiring the first 9 of the first 10 batters the wear and tear that Gino quoted started having its effect on Torres. With 50 pitches on top of the 15 from last night, the Virginia hitters finally struck paydirt in the opening of the 4th with a single followed by a two-RBI HR by Gelof. Having stretched the limit of Alejandro giving all that he had, it was a grab bag of pitching to follow. Chris Scinta briefly entered the picture but after a walk, hit, and relinquishing the third run of the inning, Ben Chestnutt is brought in. By the end of the 4th inning, another run on the board gave the Hoos a 4-2 lead which they never relinquished.
Backing up the hitting prowess of the Virginia hitters, a quality start from pitcher Jack O’Connor going 6.1 innings and striking out 9. The strikeouts once again put our backs to the wall and without the HR we just could not put up any sort of an attack. Miami had the perfect opportunity in the 2nd with one out, men on 2nd and 3rd. Dario and Dorian both called on the 3rd strike leaving Cyr on 3rd and Dominic on second after doubling to left- center. The third, which showed the only spark in the game and gave Miami the initial lead also got shut down via the strikeout. Edgardo singling, Yoyo RBI double, Zack RBI single only to have Cyr looking at the 3rd strike.
After putting up 4 runs in the 4th, Virginia added two more in the 5th on Gelof’s second HR of the game extending the lead to 6-2. Following the HR, a single and walk brought Gino walking out to the mound for the 3rd time in two innings. The BP not having an answer in slowing down the Hoos looked to Ronaldo Gallo. Prior to his last showing against the Noles, I would have said Gino had already conceded and looking toward next week against Carolina. Ronaldo walks his first batter to load the bases and you know what has to have been going through everyone’s mind. Thankfully, after taking the count to 2-1 manages to get the final out to center.
Since the third inning where Miami had taken the initial lead, they only managed a pair of singles going into the 7th. In the 6th, Miami threatened with a runner on second from an E1 on an attempted pickoff with no outs, but this went for naught. In the 7th with O’Connor tiring and approaching 100 pitches, a double by Dorian and RBI single resulted in a change of pitchers, which with fresh arms totally shut down the Canes.
Gallo remained in the game to pitch 2/3 of the 6th before the call to the BP one final time. With a runner on second (walk,WP), the desperation is shown with the one pitcher Gino had the confidence to stop any further scoring and brings in Andrew. Andrew got the job done by striking out three and not allowing a hit or further scoring but what does that tell you about our Achilles Heel? With no hitting and no BP just how far is this team expected to go? Hopefully, Karson will be well rested by Thurs or look for another sweep. Pitching by Committee just does not get the job done against ACC opponents. Fortunately no mid-week game, but it is a short turnaround.
Two players with multiple hits: Yoyo Morales 2-4(double,RBI); Dominic Pitelli 2-4(double). Only other extra-base hit: Dorian Gonzalez (double)
Starting Alejandro Torres on a quick turnaround was a dicey decision on short rest and cold weather. Understand not much choice there but Carlos Lequerica having not pitched at all this weekend would have been a better choice. That is if he was even available? The BP just did not provide the relief that was needed and bringing in Andrew when they did, is Gino telling us something? Things don’t look all that good in Mudville tonight. Being tied with Virginia in the Coastal going into this weekend, we are exiting 4th slipping behind Carolina and Duke. If we can’t turn this around next weekend with Carolina, looking at GT moving up. All questions answered starting Thurs 7PM.