Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
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The Tigers even the series at one capitalizing on a shaky start from starter Rafe Schlesinger and optimizing the opportunity when presented. Miami on the other hand had several opportunities and failed to turn the course of the game in their favor. JD Arteaga said after the game: “Against good teams, when you have opportunities to score runs, you have to take advantage.”  The opportunity presented itself on 4 separate occasions tonight and unlike the Tigers, we could not capitalize on the opportunity.Rafe Schlesinger struggled in the first providing Clemson to seize upon the opportunity to tally for 2 runs to give them the early lead. Lead-off single, RBI double, two walks to load the bases followed by a hit batter, and Miami once again playing from behind. Unlike  Gage who had a flawless first with just 14 pitches, Rafe more than doubled his output with 38. It appeared to everyone this was going to be a shortened night for Rafe
Miami was not going to roll over but rallied back in their half of the first, but failed to take the opportunity that was about to be presented. Edgardo led off with a walk followed by back-to-back singles (Cyr, Cuvet) to load the bases, with no outs. Dorian grounds out 6-4 scoring Edgardo. Runners on 1st and 3rd  Jason Torres coming to bat. He runs the count to 1-2 before hitting into a 4-3 DP. Opportunity lost. The end of one 2-1 Clemson.
Rafe after a struggling first got locked in on the mound with an 11-pitch second followed by 15-pitch third. Clemson starter did likewise keeping his pitch count low retiring the next 6 batters. 
the 4th would present opportunities to both teams. One would take advantage and the other would not. Clemson opened the second with a double over the head of Jacoby in center which should have been a routine play for our center fielder. We were in twilight and apparently lost the ball coming off the bat. Clemson took advantage of the opportunity SAC the man on second to third followed by an RBI single. Clemson takes the lead 3-2.
Miami responds in the bottom half of the inning with a lead-off double by  Covet with Dorian following it up with a drag bunt single to the left of the pitcher putting runners on the corners, no outs. Torres’s RBI single moved the Canes to within a run of the Tigers.  Runners on the corners, but still no outs. WP advanced Torres to second.  Perez walks to load the bases. Jacoby a slap hit back to the pitcher who elects to go home for the force out. Bases are still loaded, one out.  Carrier and Jimenez both strike out looking. The second opportunity was lost.
Miami would have two more opportunities to come from behind, the next coming in the 6th. Since the first inning Rafe had settled into his rhythm and rather than an early night was still on the mound and getting stronger with each inning. Rafe finished the 6th having thrown 94 pitches and was not ready to hit the showers. Unlike Rafe who had turned things around, the offense continued to struggle to manufacture runs. 

Their third opportunity came in the 6th with a lead-off double by Jason Torres to right center. Chris Perez advances him to third on a SAC. With the infield in, Jacoby hits a scorcher back to third and the third baseman makes a quick reflex catch of the line drive. Jake ended another scoring opportunity with a routine 4-3 ground out. Opportunity #3 lost.
Rafe completed the 7th ending his evening with 109 pitches holding the 3rd rank Tigers to three runs and five hits. Brian Walters came in relief to start the 8th but quickly found himself in a jam with a throwing error to first to start the 8th.  A man on second, the next batter singles to right putting runners on the corners with no outs.  Brian strikes out the next batter bringing JD out of the dugout and brings in Myles Caba for the matchup (lefty,lefty). The strategy works: 6-4-3 DP. For Clemson: opportunity lost
Miami had one last opportunity to turn the game around.  Clemson opened the door with two outs on a FO to short right. 2B,SS, and CF converge on the ball and the 2B ends up dropping it .  Costello was brought in to pinch run for Torres.  Jack  Scanlon has a second opportunity to repeat the Magical Moment of last night. You know he was swinging for the fences. Not the go-ahead HR everyone was hoping for, but a single to left. Opportunity for Costello to score with the tying run but stops at third either on his own or at the direction of 3rd base coach.  Again in a close contest, an opportunity presents itself with two outs, take it.  Miami elects not to capitalize and hopes that Jacoby will bring him that 90 feet away to tie the score.  Four pitches later Jacoby takes the final strike swinging ending the final opportunity to take the series and possibly looking at a  sweep tomorrow  
The HR which is a critical part of our game was not in our repertoire tonight and with not being able to move the line Miami fell short 3-2. With RISP we were only 3-11, batting .212 with 10 strikeouts . Our pitching except for the first inning kept the potent Tigers caged batting .188. The difference is they took advantage of opportunities and we did not. Of the 7 hits only two for doubles: Daniel Cuvet and Jason Torres. Both were the only two with multiple hits each 2-4. 
The defense had one error in the 8th which did not result in a run, but the twilight ball not caught by Jacoby in the 4th was the difference maker.  We knew we had to be perfect in hitting, fielding, and pitching. Tonight we were not and each is a reason for the rubber game tomorrow. We must take advantage of opportunities if we expect to come out on the winning side.  Sunday 1PM to determine whether we can or can not. 


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