Canes Walk Off In The 14th To Sweep Tar Heels, 3-2

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

In fairy book fashion, Renzo Gonzalez rides off into the sunset on the broom that just SWEPT the Heels after taking the first pitch with BL in the 14th inning and drilling it through the middle for the WIN. It was “Do or Tie” for the Canes as they raced against the clock as the game was approaching the 530 curfew. It was the 8th and 9th position that were the difference makers in today’s contest recording 6 of the 8 hits but more importantly the final hit. Both teams struggled against effective pitching. NC showed why they were ranked 2nd in the nation in ERA after Canes batters struck out 11 times in the first five innings. It wasn’t until starter Max Carlson left the mound after 5 innings did Miami put up some semblance of an offense. Tailing 2-0, BL Yoyo grounds out to first, but the throw home is not in time to cut the lead in half. Fast forward to the 9th inning and NC is one victory strike away pitching to Gaby Guiterrez, 1-13 for the season, gets a PH single to tie the game at two. That was Miami’s third hit all day. Into extra innings, neither team was able to score until the magical ride of the 14th and a day that will be long remembered by Renzo Gonzalez.

The same lineup as of yesterday except for Renzo Gonzalez batting 9th replacing Mike Rosario in RF. Alejandro Rosario, ERA 12.56, on the mound. Once our Friday starter, has transcended into oblivion trying to return to early last year’s form. With no real Sunday starter, Alejandro was trying to be just that.

For the first three innings, he was looking like the Rosario of old striking out 7. Started unwinding in the 4th, hitting the second batter, followed by a single. WP advanced both runners and RBI single scored two. At 81 pitches, end of the day for Alejandro. Great start striking out 8 with mid 90’s hitable fastball allowing 2 runs on 5 hits. If he intends to work himself back into the rotation has to go beyond 5, which he hasn’t been able to do, and have more pitches in his repertoire.

Miami’s offense could not get on track through 5 innings, striking out 11 times with just one hit coming in the 3rd by Renzo Gonzalez. In the 6th, Miami led off with a single by Zach followed by a walk which ended the day for Carlson at 76 pitches and could not please the Miami hitters more. Canes batters started with the new pitcher putting the ball more into play with CJ grounding out 5-3, advancing both runners. Yoyo hits a hard grounder back to first who tags the bag, but the throw home to complete the DP not in time, scoring Zach from 3rd. NC still leads end of 6, 2-1.

NC threatened twice more in regulation once in the 7th on an E7 putting runners on the corners before Alex McFarlane comes in to relieve Dubberly striking out and eliminating the threat. The other one inning later with a walk and WP had a runner on second before McFarlane puts down the threat with a 6-3 ground out.

Miami trailing 2-1 in the 9th, Burke led off with a walk. The pitcher makes a great play on a Pitelli dribbler down the 1st baseline advancing Burke to second. Gino PH Zach for Gaby, both RH hitters. Zach had one of Miami’s two hits for the day. As stated earlier, one strike away and Gaby not only gets his second hit of the season but most importantly, ties the game at two.

Gage Ziehl comes in to pitch the 10th, and with ice running through his veins after back-to-back single followed by a walk to load the bases gets their catcher to ground out 6-4.

Neither side would mount any sort of an attack until Miami’s 14th. As if the threat of the clock ticking down to Miami’s final at-bat before curfew is rung, Burke singles to right to lead off the inning. Dorian, who could not lay down a bunt on two attempts hits a high chopper back to the pitcher accomplishing the same; advancing Burke to second. With first open, Pitelli is intentionally walked. Gaby who saved Miami’s bacon in the 9th, singles off the glove of the pitcher on a hard shot back to him to load the bases. With the infield in Renzo takes the first pitch back through the middle for the winning run and SWEEP. The first against NC since 2016.

Offensively, our bats were totally shut down with only three hits in regulation. The 8th and 9th positions in the order accounted for 6 of our 8 hits and no one from either side got an extra-base hit today. 15 Combined hits, all singles. With three hits in the 14th, the offense finally came alive at the right time. Multiple hits today: Gaby Guiterrez 2-3(RBI); Renzo Gonzalez 3-5(RBI).

Pitching from the BP was key to today’s victory only allowing 2 hits. The offense gave zero support, especially in the first 5 innings when they had 11 strikeouts. Only two hits going into the 9th we were fortunate to get a hit at the right time or we would have been packing our bags at nine. Thanks to Gaby and Renzo for making the sweep possible and a BP that delivered today.

On the road next week with a mid-week game at Ft. Myers with FGCU followed by weekend series with Duke at Durham. They return Wed, 5 Apr to play FGCU. Start time 6PM.


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