Canes Baseball: Second Preseason Scrimmage

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
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The second of two unofficial scrimmages brought out the heavies in our pitching rotation. For the first 4 innings, Gage Ziehl, Alejandro Rosario, Karson Ligon, and Ronaldo Gallo put on a pitching clinic gridlocking the offensive juggernaut to just two hits. Each of the four bidding for the coveted weekend rotation. The five remaining pitchers in today‘s scrimmage were on a different mission in making an impact statement for relief consideration.  With our bullpen in dire need of someone to stand out and be the go-to person, every inning thrown is coming under the watchful eyes of Gino and JD. These two days were “unofficial” but there was note-taking from the clubhouse on how each player performed and will have an impact on the coming season. Preseason starts officially next Friday, but don’t kid yourself that these two Unofficial scrimmages meant nothing.

Before moving on to today‘s scrimmage, a bit of an update as to the status of Yoyo Morales who was taken out of the game in severe pain when he slid back into first on an attempted pickoff. Happy to report, all is well with Yoyo and he was back in action today. Did not play defensively but he took his turn at bat going 0-2 with a walk. Did have a potential injury in which Blake Cyr was taken out in the execution of a 6-4-3 DP colliding with Carlos Pere sliding into second. After several minutes on the ground with the trainer and teammates surrounding him, he managed to leave on his own power. Blake batted in the next inning and added to his soreness by getting hit by pitch. Not his day overall going 0-2.

As earlier stated, for the first 4 innings it was a pitching clinic where with the exception of two hits (both doubles) the bats were silent.

Gage Ziehl, set-up pitcher and Alejandro Rosario, last year starter, got the opening call for two innings each. Gage had a rough beginning hitting Jacoby Long on his first pitch. Quickly erased with Dominic Pitelli hitting into a 4-6-3 DP. His second inning after giving up a lead-off double to Edgardo Villegas, who was caught stealing third, struck out the next two batters. As for Alejandro, he made it even quicker with 6up/6down. With Rosario, last year you never knew what to expect. Hopefully this year he can be more consistent and make it beyond the third. He was very commanding today. I am guessing that he will get the Sunday call to start the season. 

Karson Ligon who came on like a house on fire last year sort of fizzled out mid-season. With a year of experience, expect to see good things happening for this youngster. Made short work of the 6 batters faced. Karson’s opposite number was Ronaldo Gallo. He was in and out of starting rotation last year not being able to be consistent with his pitching. Not the best in the fall preseason, he struggled throughout. JD still has confidence in his pitching and today was a definite plus for him. After giving up a lead-off double to Carlos Perez, 4 of the six outs registered were via the strikeout.

Things started getting a bit dicey after the foursome left the mound, and the BP hopefuls made their appearance. Ben Chestnutt was the only pitcher of the five to pitch a second inning. the reminder each tossed a single inning. You noticed the difference in quality in the second half of the session where the bats were making a bit more contact. Ben got his chestnuts a bit toasted giving up two walks and a single the first three batters faced contributing to the first run scored for today. In his second inning, he managed to secure the first two outs, before giving up his third walk and ending his 5 man rotation by hitting Blake Cyr.

Alejandro Torres was the first of four to pitch an inning each. Alejandro pitched opposite Ben in the 5th. His performance, gave one cause to have a concern with our BP. CJ Kayfus opened with a double, followed by walking Yoyo. A hard-hit ball to Ariel Garcia at third which could have gone either hit or error for Gaby Gutierrez. This was followed by a double by Jack Scanlon for the second run of the inning. The inning wasn’t a total loss in striking out the other Torres on the team, Jason, looking. That would be the last of the runs recorded for the scrimmage.

Brian Walters, younger brother to Andrew, had his one inning of fame giving up a pair of walks but no runs. Wrapping up the 7th were Chris Scinta and Sebastion Perez. Chris had a pair of strikeouts but his claim to fame was getting to strikeout Yoyo looking. This was a definite positive for our questionable BP. Likewise can be said For Sebastian Perez. A single to Kaden Martin was his only blemish. Striking out Renzo Gonzalez brought an end to the spring “unofficial” preseason.

Offensively, the bats were fairly quiet. 3 of the 6 hits were for doubles ( CJ Kayfus, Edgardo Villegas, Jack Scanlon). Carlos Perez was the only batter with multiple hits 2-2 (double)

With the Official starting of preseason starting next Friday, they will have three weeks of hard practice before opening day 17 Feb with Penn State and the run for the Golden Ring being Omaha. The start time for the scrimmage next Friday will be announced later in the week. 

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