Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

The Longball made the difference in taking this series into the rubber match tomorrow. Just seven hits, but three were for HRs accounting for 8 of the 10 runs the Canes put on the board. The Gators spotted us 5 runs and four innings, but Cane fans still felt uncomfortable going into the 5th inning and the 4th rank Gators started to make their run. Florida put up 3 runs in the 5th to narrow the margin to 2. Cane fans stopped holding their breath in the 7th when Daniel Cuvet converted with his 6th homer with two on-board to extend the lead to 6. The Gators were not done, fighting back with 3 in the 8th to narrow the margin to 3. Based on our history, you knew no lead is big enough but today with an insurance run in the 8th Nick Robert sealed the deal with 13 pitches in the 9th to deny the Gators of their 5th straight series in the Gables

The only changes to the lineup are Scanlon behind the plate batting 7th and Carrier in left batting 8th, with Villegas replacing Long in center

The Gators opened where they left off Friday night with a lead-off double that had Cane fans fearful that it was going to be one of those games, especially with the next batter walking having runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs. Rafe Schlesinger, fortunately, did not unravel and started living up to his 0.82 ERA and 16 strikeouts, delivered with a K for the first out followed by a 4-6-3 DP.

A charged-up dugout knowing they escaped being in catch-up mode getting behind for the second straight game, reversed the tables with Blake walking with one out which would set the stage for Jason Torres two batters away. Daniel followed with a single. Runners on 1st and 2nd, one out Jason Torres takes a 2-0 to left center 415 feet to give the Canes an early lead of 3-0. Added two more in the second also on a 2-0 count to Edgardo Villegas and he takes it 390 feet also to left center to extend Miami’s lead to 5-0

Being a rivalry game, no lead for the Canes is considered safe. For the 3rd and 4th inning, Rafe continued to deliver keeping the Gator hitters off the bases holding onto a 5-0 lead. Cane fans knew this was too good to be true, the Gators with only one hit going into the 5th. Florida finally unleashed with a lead off single. Going into the inning from the lead-off double to open the game to the single in the 5th Rafe had only thrown 49 pitches. Perfect opportunity to stop the Gators in their tracks with a 6-4 grounder to Jimenez at short but Dorian was unable to complete the DP leaving a runner on first. A PB and single set it up for Dale Thomas batting .167 coming into today’s game recorded his second HR of the season to narrow the score to 2 (5-3). Everyone thinking of a 5 run lead and unable once again to hold onto it.  Two more singles followed in between a pair of strikeouts. It appeared that Rafe having thrown a 27-pitch inning his day was over and the call to the BP would be made to start the 6th

Instead, Rafe came out to not only throw the 6th  but stayed in to pitch to 3 batters in the 7th. At 99 on his pitch count with one out with runners on 1st and second (hit,HP) the call to the BP is made sending in Jordon Vargas. Tying run on first, Cade Kurland who led off the first with a double is called out on a pitch clock violation. Stepping up to the plate with runners on 1st and 2nd is the person most considered the best in college baseball Jac Cagianone. Already with one hit, everyone holding their breath as he sent a deep fly to right and brought in at the wall in right-center.

A sigh of relief for Cane fans and disappointment for the Gators. More disappointment to follow with the Cane’s half of the 7th. Jack Scanlon opens the bottom half of the 7th by getting hit. Two batters later Antonio Jimenez doubles down the left field line putting runners on 2nd and 3rd one out. Edgardo walks to load the bases. Blake SF to left extends the lead to three and Daniel Cuvet puts the nail in the coffin (that was the thought) with his 6th homer of the season traveling 410 feet to center

With a 6-run lead (9-3) and two innings left, the Gators were still not done. Cane’s history of not holding onto a lead watched the 8th in shock. Two hit batters and a WP had runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out. A double to left brings in two runs and brings out JD. Vargas is out and Chris Scinta is in. JD brought Scinta for matchup purposes (L/L). Once again the theory backfires with a single sending runners on the corners and JD making his way to the mound for another change of pitchers. The call to the BP is for Nick Robert to close the floodgate. It took two batters to do so at the coast of one more run (SF8). The lead is down to 3 with one inning left to secure the win and take it to a rubber match tomorrow.

Miami answered with one of their own for insurance in the bottom half of the 8th with a SF to Left by Jimenez with the BL. The Canes opened the 8th with a single by Dorian, Walk to Costello, and Scanlon getting hit for the second time. BL, no outs. Long takes a 3rd strike looking. Antonio comes through with the SF to left and Edgardo also strikes out. Golden opportunity and only able to come away with one run.

Four-run lead was more than enough with Nick needing just 11 pitches to secure the victory

Offensively, it was the long ball that made the difference. Just 7 hits but as stated in the opening paragraph, the HR accounted for 8 of the 10 runs recorded. We are currently 4th in the nation at the end of our game in that department with Torres and Cuvet leading the country in HRs with 6 and 7 respectively. Both were the only two with multiple numbers each 2-4 with 3 RBIs apiece. Edgardo Villegas had the other HR (2RBIs) and the lone double came in the 7th by Antonio Jimenez

Rafe Schlesinger gave us the 6+ innings we needed tying his career high with 9 strikeouts. The BP held its own by relinquishing two hits one of which was Vargas giving up a 3-run homer. For the 1.2 innings that Nick Robert pitched, he maintained his 0.00 ERA. The trainer and JD came out in the 8th to check on Vargas after hitting his second batter that inning but decided to keep him in. Following a WP and a double JD returned to the mound and replaced Varga for Scinta.

Rafe gets the win and Robert the save. More importantly, the win sets up for the deciding game at 1PM tomorrow. Herick Hernandez will be facing off against Jac Caglianone. 


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