Canes Baseball: Miami Takes Game 1 At Pitt, 9-8

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

Miami continues to roll with their 6 straight win. However, the road to the finish line was a bit bumpy as Pitt took a page out of the Cane’s playbook putting up 7 runs on 7 hits in the home stretch. Miami watch their 6-run lead suddenly shrink to one as the Panthers started their claw back into the ladder. Andrew Walters needed everything in his arsenal to hold off the Panthers and finally cage them to secure his 8th save.

Miami at times looked spectacular and not so at other times. It all comes down to the one thing that Miami lives or dies on: its ability to clear the ballpark. Three left the yard accounting for 7 of the 9 runs scored. That is where we shined and 3-14 with runners in scoring position is where we didn’t.

We opened with CJ and Edwardo on (shine) followed by two Ks and a fly out to right (not). It was the second inning we really shined with a pair of HRs accounting for 5 runs. It all came about coming with 2 outs. Jason Torres, our hottest and newest hitter got his opportunity to play with Yoyo’s absence last week and has not looked back. It has been full throttle ever since batting a sizzling .567. Jason drilled the ball through the middle for a single. Carlos Perez took it from there with a 365′ yarder to left, his 12th of the season. Just getting started CJ singles and Edgardo walks bringing Yoyo to the plate. Chalk up #12 for the 3rd baseman rocketing it 388’to right center. 5 runs in the second and Miami had their sights on blowing this game wide open. 

Another run in the third, but it wasn’t all that pretty. Bases loaded no-outs on three consecutive singles (Cyr,Pitelli,Farrow). Jason Torres at the plate. The runaway train comes crashing down with a 4-6-3 DP. The sizzle became a sputter. Another DP followed in the 4th. Not only the offense started floundering but so was the defense. What should have been a routine 5-4-3 DP, never happened because of the throwing arm of Blake Cyr. While his bat has been crushing it, his defensive prowess is also crushing in the wrong direction. Failure to complete the DP ended up costly us a run with a double that followed. His lob throws to first cost us extended play in the 6th which fortunately did not cost a run, but did result in a pitching change. 

Miami managed to get the lost run back in the 5th but also lost a run on runner interference. Prior to the runner interference call had runners on 2nd and 3rd (Zach-single,Blake-walk) Farrow hits a grounder to short and on contact Zach breaks for the plate. Needless to say, he was out before he reached halfway(5-2). Blake and Zach met at 3rd and Zach had no choice but to be tagged out. Torres singles bringing in Cyr and Farrow advancing to second. That brings Carlos to the plate man on 1st and 2nd. Carlos hits a liner to the right but right in the path of Jason striking him. Rather than a run-scoring, runner interference was called which when things started to go wrong it really goes wrong. Still managed one run out of this mess and regained the six-run spread.

No lead, no matter how large is ever save when it comes to the Canes. Gage was entering the 6th with his pitch count closing in on 90. Back-to-back HRs brought 6 runs down to 3. Dominic fires back with one of his own, #10, easily clearing the FR wall 415′ bring in Blake who singled to open the 7th. That brought the lead back to 5 only to see Pitt match Dominic with one of their own with a man on taking it back down to 3. 

Things started getting real tense in the 8th after Carlos Lequerica in for Alejandro Torres walked and hit a batter. Gino did not hesitate and brought in Andrew. Last year it is game over, but not so this year. A triple off the wall brings in two and Pitt has the tying run on 3rd with just one out. Vintage Andrew follows with a K looking and routine ground out to second and fortunately Dorian (replacing Cyr) fielded the ball for the sure out 4-3.

Our bats were ice cold in the 8th and 9th going 3up/3down. After the two-run triple in the 8th, it came down to the nitty-gritty on whether it was vintage Andrew or not. It wasn’t three K’s and did relinquish a two-out walk, but it was vintage Andrew in the end. Kyle Hess who had doubled and HR earlier (2-3) did not become the hero of the 6 run comeback grounding out 4-3 to earn Andrew his 8th save.

Offensively everyone in the lineup had at least one hit. Fifteen hits total and if not for the 3 HRs accounting for 7 runs this would be another report on Miami unable to hold onto a lead. 12 singles that were scattered or ended with a DP, two of them, runner interference, getting picked off, or caught trying to go home. With all the good there was a lot of bad. Four players with multiple hits: CJ Kayfus 3-5;Blake Cyr 2-4; Dominic Pitelli 2-5 (HR, 2 RBIs); Jason Torres 3-4(RBI); In addition to Dominic two other’s with HRs: Yoyo Morales (3RBIs); Carlos Perez (2RBIs).

Pitching has been and will continue to be the “if” factor on how far this team will progress post-season. The BP was not that sharp and Gage is tiringly in the later innings. Back-to-back HRs are not what you would expect from the National Pitcher of the Week. Had three hits going into the 6th, but then got slammed with 4 including the two homers. Even Andrew is showing signs of being human. Torres, Lequerica, and Chestnutt are our BP. Pitch them every day and see how quickly their arms go. As for Rosario and Gallo they are strictly potluck with most of the time being pure pot. Ziehl without Ligon it is strictly Committee Pitching. 

Tomorrow Rosario and hope he can give us a good 5-6 innings. First pitch 3PM


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