Canes’ Season Ends With Heartbreaking Losses Sunday To Ole Miss And Arizona

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
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The Road to Omaha ends at the Coral Gables Regionals. A pathetic and pitiful offensive performance in both games in which Miami was unable to finish the job. Game one in what turned out to be a double-header day for Miami they put themselves into that position because as we have seen all too often this season the bats failed to show up for the game.

In Game one, Miami sent out the best we had on the mound, Carson Palmquist, and he provided everything that was expected of him; striking out 10 on just two hits and not allowing a run. Carson did what was needed to punch our way into the regional final and not have to play a second game against Arizona. The Rebels pitcher, Hunter Elliot, as well, was up to the task of providing a pitching duel of 5 scoreless innings each keeping runs off the board. Miami had opportunities in the first 4 innings to get the leadoff batter safely on base. In the first, where Miami had the first opportunity to draw blood both Burke and Levenson struck out with the bases loaded. For the next three innings opportunity again presented itself but strikeouts and a DP kept the score deadlocked at zero. After only two hits through five innings and 99 pitches from Elliot, the changing of the guard for the Rebels brought in relief pitcher Mason Nichols with runners on the corners. Yoyo led off the 6th with a walk advancing to second on a WP.

Max got Miami’s third hit which ended Elliot’s day.  Jacob Burke broke the deadlock with a SF to center to give Miami a 1-0 lead which they would hold for one inning. Alex McFarlane relieved a tiring Carson in the 6th after giving up his second hit to lead off the inning, followed by a walk and WP to put runners on 2nd and third. Still had enough left in the tank to record his 10th strikeout before the call to the BP. Rebels had an opportunity to get back the run they surrendered at the top of the inning with BL after a two-out walk but for not on a 6-4 put-out to end the inning.

The 7th started well with two quick outs. Then disaster struck with two straight singles and a double to right center getting by Zach playing right clearing the bases and Rebels take the lead late in the game. Miami had an opportunity in the 9th at their final at bat with Zach sort of redeeming himself with a one-out double for only the 4th hit of the game. With a runner in scoring position, Miami did what they have done all so often this season and three times in this game go back-to-back strikeouts forcing us into an elimination game with Arizona.

After a very disappointing performance offensively in the first game, CJ Kayfus gave the disheartened fans something to cheer about on the first pitch of the second game going deep to right. Arizona would counter with one on their own to tie the score at one in the third. Alejandro Rosario who has struggled throughout the season finally came through when it most countered. Gave up 6 hits but had the Wildcats blanked through 5.1 innings except for the solo HR to lead off the third. The score would stay locked at one until once again one swing of the bat by Yoyo to left, only the second hit of the game,  gave the Canes a 3-1 lead. Gage Ziehl was giving the marching orders to take the reins and bring it on home. He was doing just that recording 4 strikeouts and appeared to be in total control.

Two strikeouts in the 8th  before once again long ball came into play on a 3-2 count to Tony Bullard. This brought the score to within one and time to bring in our Closer who has been nothing but unstoppable and secure his 15th save. Andrew went quick to work striking out the first two he faced. What should have been the third out, a hard grounder to short and 99 times out of a 100 Dominic makes a great play and throws the runner out. This time the grab was excellently executed but the throw to first is over the head of CJ. This play will be replayed in his mind over and over during the off-season of what could have been. Then Andrew totally lost it after failing to record the final out and now a man on first. A WP that went airborne way over the head of Perez advanced the runner to second. One strike away from winning the game had the fans standing knowing what was going to come next. Instead, he hits the  batter now putting runners on first and second. This is uncharted waters for Andrew having 2 outs and failing to finalize it. Deja Vu struck again.

Like the first game, a double to right once again clears the bases and gave Arizona the lead for the first time leaving the Miami fans stunned. Miami had one final chance in their half of the 9th. For the 7th time, Miami gets the leadoff batter on base. Only Miami’s 4th hit but could not come at a better time. A WP sends Ariel Garcia to second. CJ FO to center advancing Ariel to 3rd and 90 feet away from tying the game. Gaby, PH for Edgardo, strikes out on what would have been a ball 4 call. With first open, Yoyo is intentionally walked and goes unchallenged to second. The winning run on second and the tying on third, Renzo Gonzalez, PH for Max, ends the dream of the Road to Omaha with a 6-3 groundout.

In both games, the hitting failed to produce. Four hits in the first and the same in the second is not what is expected of a team trying to compete for a national title. Pitching was right on the mark but the real Achilles Heel came from the bats. The Canes will have the rest of the summer of what could have been and what should have been. The offense and pitching this year never seem to be in synch when most needed. We had a perfect opportunity to make it to the promise land except by being stopped by the last team to make it into the Regionals, Mississippi, and an Arizona team that we let get away from us.

The pitching was ready to play but the final ending is that the Miami batters left their bats on their shoulders. As well as our pitching was today, our overall hitting for game two was just .133 and with RISP we were 0-11. Similar results for game one. With hitting like that there is no way for serious consideration as a national contender.


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