Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
In the best pitching performance to date by a Miami pitcher, Gage Ziehl showed a side of himself not seen all season. The deposed Friday night starter moved to Saturday on the verge of being sent to BP duties, tonight he pitched with confidence. Having total dominance over the Wolfpack hitters striking out 8 and only allowing a single walk and just 3 hits over the course of 8 innings, he was masterful on the mound. He walked off the field screaming, totally pumped, to a standing ovation at the conclusion of having thrown his 110th pitch to end the inning having given up just one run, unearned, to a team that came into the Light undefeated. The brilliance of Gage’s pitching unfortunately was marred tonight by the sloppiness of the defense. Two errors in the 6th by Carlos Perez led to the only scoring for the Pack tonight. Miami pitching was not the only one being shortchanged by their defense, the Wolfpack felt it more for the second straight night having committed three errors to add to the three from last night. It will be up to Alejandro Rosario tomorrow to perform in a similar manner to earn the sweep.
No change to the lineup. One question answered that everyone has been asking “Where is Andrew”? Not Verified but expected a very reliable source, I was informed that Andrew is out for medical reasons. Tendinitis and expected to be out for as long as 6 weeks. Hopefully, it won’t be that long. Brother Brian had his Tommy John surgery this past Wednesday and will return next March with his bionic arm barring complications.
It was deja vu from last night with the first pitch deflection off the pitcher’s glove for a lead-off single. Similarities ended there with Gage striking out the side after having runners on first and second no-outs.
Miami did not have to wait long to put the initial run on the board. CJ Kayfus lead off with a double to left. Groundouts by Edgardo and Yoyo moved CJ from second to third to home for the first run of the game. Added the second run one inning later on a BL walk to CJ. Singles by Blake Cyr and Renzo Gonzalez and a walk to Dominic Pitelli set the wheels in motion.
The Wolfpack’s defense faltered in the 4th resulting in two unearned runs caused by back-to-back errors by the third baseman playing short, shift, and the center fielder letting the ball get by him, enabling two runs to score. If you could put an error to the opposing team on the board CJ Kayfus would have definitely earned it. I Am surprised Gino did not bench him after running through the stop sign at third in trying to squeeze an inside-the-park HR, which was scored as a single and two-run error by the CF for letting the ball get by him trying to make a diving catch. you could see the steam coming from Gino for the arrogance of CJ for blowing a clear stoppage at 3rd. The play at the plate 9-4-2 was not even close. Still, two runs and 4 unanswered runs on the board to give the Canes a 4-0 lead at the end of 4.
The Pack would finally break through in the 6th thanks to 2 errors by Carlos Perez. The first on fielding a grounder not able to complete the play at first and on the very next batter with runners on 1st and 2nd an attempted pick off at first was thrown out into right scoring the runner from second. That would be the only scoring for the day for the Wolfpack. Gage would shut them down with Carlos Lequerica sealing the victory on 8 pitches in the 9th.
The Canes answered in the bottom half of the 6th with a pair of runs which would possibly have been more if not for CJ’s once again bad base running; getting picked off at third. A BL walk generated by a walk, HP, E7 scored one and Yoyo SF to center for the second run.
Not done with a 6-1 lead, Ian Farrow for the second night goes opposite field 378′ for the final pair of runs sealing the 8-1 victory and series win.
Offensively, with the bat, CJ Kayfus shined with the bat tonight with a 3-4 performance, that included a pair of doubles and a pair of RBIs. He also received a black eye for his base running miscues. Most flagrant was running through the stop sign at third and getting nailed at home only salted the wound and I am sure a stern tonguing from Gino. Blake Cyr continues to hit the ball and unfortunately got hit himself in the head which took him out of the game the following inning hopefully as a precaution. While his bat has been great, his fielding continues to stink up the field. Has no arm and mishandles the ball once he retrieves the slippery rock. Hopefully, as he matures his fielding will come around. For right now it is scary every time a ball is hit to him. The only other person with something other than a single which was 5, was DH, Ian Farrow, who for the second night went downtown.
From a pitching standpoint, you could not ask more from a pitcher than Gage Ziehl provided. Asking for 6 innings, Gage gave us a solid 8, and barring poor defensive play might have pitched a complete game. Gage’s performance tonight was just what the doctor ordered. Hopefully, Alejandro can drink from the same well and give us the SWEEP tomorrow. It doesn’t get any easier from here on out. Knocked off #19 rank NCS; Next week VT ranked 4th; week 3 is WF ranked 5th and slowing down a little with arch-rival FSU ranked 21th then VA 17th and finalizing with UNC 14th. Take a week off against national rank opponents with GT and finish the month of April against the 9th rank Louisville. The next two months are going to be very demanding and if we can pitch today unranked Miami is going to be a team to be aware of. One pitch and one HR at a time. The rest will follow
Tomorrow for the SWEEP 1PM.