Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Game 1 of 3 to determine the bragging right of the 305 took place across town tonight in a clash of cross-town rivals. For Miami after losing their last two mid-week contests and coming off an embarrassing loss to NCS on Sunday, this was more than just any other game. Another loss and one to FIU would be a major sting in having: for one, Little Brother beating up on Big Brother plus two, what it would mean for the Canes for post-season implications. Two of the Panthers starting nine, Mike Rosario and Henry Wallen wore the Orange and Green not so long ago and for them, it was more than just another ballgame. For them and the rest of their teammates, nothing would be as sweet as putting the Big Hurt on Big Brother.
With a BP fairly well-depleted, Miami has no one they can turn to as their mid-week starter. That being the case, it was Pitching by Committee and hopefully, someone among the five that pitched tonight would be able to break away from the pack and be the future starter. Headlining tonight’s game was the one pitcher that should have been last in consideration but for some reason, Gino has some type of mystical illusion with Ronaldo Gallo who eventually shows his true colors every time he makes an appearance. Tonight was no exception.
I think Gino was too embarrassed by giving Gallo the hook in the 1st inning after giving up two runs on 4 hits, throwing 24 pitches and FIU threatening more with bases loaded and two outs. This is what we have seen with every appearance and Gino always comes back for more. Fortunately, he survived with only two runs and escaped in the third inning with a runner on third.
Miami all night had opportunity upon opportunity to put runs on the board having the lead-off batter reach base successfully. After the first two innings meeting with unsuccessful results, Jack Scanlon, Tonight’s catcher, became the butterfly who finally burst out of his cocoon having a 2-4 breakout performance.
Trailing 3-0 in the third, Dominic leads off the top half of the inning with an opposite-field single. Jack comes to the plate and on the first pitch goes yard for only his 2nd hit of the year, the first coming on his last at-bat Sunday. This tied the game at two but the Panthers would take back the lead an inning later with Ben Chestnutt now on the mound.
Panthers retook the lead with runners on the corners one out. Routine grounder 4-3 brought the run across the plate and for that moment of time, they were once again on top. It could have been worse after Yoyo missed a tag to load the bases with two outs. Clean-up batter Alec Sanchez takes one looking for the 3rd out.
Miami trailing by one, it was time for the bats to finally come alive. For the 4th time in 5 innings, we managed to get the leadoff batter, safely on base. That being Jack Scanlon with his third hit and second of the game. Two more hits for the inning, both singles (CJ Kayfus,Zach Levenson), and the Canes have BL with 2 outs. Ian Farrow is at the plate. Ian looking for his 1st hit to open the game still remained hitless but his presence caused a WP to bring in the tying run that would remain locked at 3 until the 9th inning.
Miami was close to taking the lead in the 8th with runners on 1st and 2nd two outs. Once again it is Jack Scanlon with the opportunity to be an impact in tonight’s see-saw affair. Jack hits a hard liner that had extra bases written all over it. The only person separating that from happening was Adrian Figueroa, 6’5″, climbing the ladder, and at full extension somehow hauls in the ball. That, unfortunately, happened to be the play of the game which robbed Jack of a three-hit night.
The score is still tied at 3 and possibly looking at extra innings, CJ opens the inning with a walk. Edgardo hitless tonight breaks the tie with a double to right getting past the RF trying to make a diving catch. CJ scores from 1st with the go-ahead run. It was the breaking point for the panthers and everything went wrong from there. Leverson’s routine grounder to shortstop throws the ball in the dirt getting by the first baseman and scoring Edgardo. Miami now up by two and the sealant came from Jacoby Long, PH for Ian Farrow takes a 1-0 pitch and sends it into never-never land over the left field fence. Jack’s 5th hit at 7 at-bats this season. To his credit has 2 doubles 5 RBIs and batting .714. Being one if not the fastest guy on the team, his primary role with an enriched OF has been as a pinch runner or brought in late for defensive purposes. I expect to see his role changing possibly coming this weekend.
With a four-run lead, Alejandro Torres comes in to pitch the 9th. Got a bit concerned about hitting the lead-off batter but held off Adrian Figueroa with runners on 1st and 2nd to ground out 4-6. Canes takes game one of the 305 shootout.
Once again the Canes live or die via the long ball. 4 of our 7 runs came compliments of Jack Scanlon and Jacoby Long. Of the 10 hits tonight only other extra-base hit which prove to be the go-ahead run came in the 9th by Edgardo. The remaining 7 hits were scattered throughout the game resulting in 2-10 with runners in scoring position. We need to do better in this category. The one area we did improve upon is strikeouts. Only victim 6 times this is a marked improvement over the double digits we have been experiencing. Three players with multiple hits: CJ Kayfus 2-3; Zach Levenson 2-4; and the player of the day Jack Scanlon 2-4(HR,2RBI)
Pitching tonight was by Committee and for the most part not too impressive. Ronaldo Gallo and Ben Chestnutt both got themselves into major jams and were lucky to come away with minor damage. Chris Scinta for the short time, having thrown 9 pitches, I am wondering if he is still is not 100%. Carlos Lequerica relieved him with two outs in the 7th which brought up my concern on why he was not allowed to finish the inning. Carlos, of the 5 pitchers tonight was by far the sharpest and if Gino is looking for a candidate for midweek starter, he would be the leading candidate.
Gino after the game stated:“Overall, we’re playing okay, but not quite the way I want to see us play,” ..”.we have a lot to improve on. All facets. I want to see us clean things up and play a lot better.”
Virgina Tech is ranked #17 by D1 baseball. The Hokies are not FIU and if we expect to come away with the series we are going to have to play a lot tougher which means HRs, a lot of them, and light’s out pitching from Ligon and Ziehl. If Rosario returns to vintage Rosario, which is probably asking too much then we have an excellent chance .of a series win. The action starts Friday 8PM Game two with FIU at the Light 29 March.