Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
The second meeting of three this season with the Owls. First met back in Feb where Miami dominated play winning convincingly 9-1. Tonight after getting off to a very slow start, missed opportunity to blow the game open in the first inning, it was pitching that kept them in the game. With the bats struggling to find a hit through the first six innings, it wasn’t until the 7th with the Owl’s second pitcher in relief did the bats started clicking to break the tie for 6 unanswered runs. The Owls threatened in the 8th with BL and one out, but Mr. Clutch, Andrew Walters, came in and closed the door to secure the victory.
Gino has pretty much settled with the starting lineup with the exception of who from the OF will be the DH in the 8th or 9th slot. Tonight it was Zach Levenson batting 8th and Mike Rosario holding down the final slot in the rotation playing RF. Jake got the call tonight to start on the rubber. Still uncertain on how much his back is still bothering him, but Gino kept him in for 6 innings and could have easily gone for more, with just 65 pitches, but decided to stick with the formula of Ziehl for set-up and Andrews for Closer.
Miami could have put this game to bed as early as the first inning but blew the perfect opportunity to do so with BL nobody out. CJ opened with a lead-off single. 2 WPs had CJ on 3rd with no outs. A walk to Edgardo put runners on the corners. Miami being aggressive, Edgardo steals second trying to draw the throw. The catcher took the bait but throws the ball into center and Miami take the early lead 1-0 with CJ strolling in from third. Control continued to besiege the Owl pitcher walking two more to load the bases. Still no out and perfect opportunity to seal the game before it even starts. Instead, Burk pops out to short, Dorian does likewise to third, and Dominic grounds out to first.
The opening hit by CJ would be the last hit by a Miami batter until the 6th inning. With the Miami bats silenced, it was Miami’s good fortune that Jake was back in form. He doesn’t dazzle you with speed and doesn’t get strikeouts, but he keeps the ball on the ground. The one run the Owls managed to get came in the 4th on a fielding error by Dorian which was followed up by an RBI double scoring the runner all the way around from first to tie the score at one. This would be the last hurrah the FAU fans would have until the 8th inning.
After the initial hit in the first, the offense would become totally in snooze mode until Dorian woke up the offense with a bunt single to lead off the 6th. That was just a wake-up call for it took until the 7th for the bats to really come alive. After Rosario started the inning with a K, three consecutive singles by CJ, Edgardo, and Yoyo got the bases loaded. Still trying to figure out why Gino held CJ at third on what would have been the go-ahead run. Remembering the 1st inning with BL no one out and nothing to show for it, I questioned the decision to hold CJ. Max got called out on an infield fly rule, but the ball falls into a void between 1st, 2nd, and CF. Ruled a SF to center and CJ scored on the miscue. Runners on 1st and 2nd Jacob lines a triple into the RF corner scoring Edgardo and Yoyo. Easily could have been ruled a double being that the RF had problems retrieving the ball. End of 7, Miami finally breaks out to a 4-1 lead.
Once the hitting starts, it becomes contagious. Another run in the 8th with a pair of singles with Edgardo getting his second hit of the game extending the lead to 5-1.
Through 7 innings, Miami pitching had been on cruise control. Jake allowed only three hits and an unearned run through 6 and Gage taking over in the 7th striking out two. However, still sitting on a comfortable 5-1 lead, it ain’t over until the fat lady sings. The Owls started singing in the 8th with a lead-off single, followed up with a HP. Gage gets a reprieve with a K only to walk the next batter to load the bases. A four-run lead could be gone with one swing of the bat, Gino goes with our Closer and brings in Andrew Walters. Andrew gets into a 3-2 contest with the first batter faced fouling one ball after another. Had to be at least half a dozen foul balls before finally getting him to fly out to shallow left. After that, it was Andrew Time with three straight strikes for the final out.
In the 9th, the bats finally red hot, the Canes add 2 more with an insurance bomb to RC by Max; his third of the year. Andrew finalized it with starting and ending the 9th with a K.
It was pitching that kept Miami in the game until the bats finally came to life in the 7th getting 7 of their 9 hits in the final three innings. CJ and Edgardo only two Canes with multiple hits: 2-5 and 2-3 respectively. Two Canes with extra-base hits: Burke (triple); Romero (HR).
It is back to the Light on Friday with a 3 game series with Coastal Co- Conference leader NC tied with Va at 5-1. Miami sharing 3rd with GT at 4-2. To say the least, this is one very important weekend where we can’t be hanging around expecting NC to do likewise. Need to score first and continue to do so or we might be looking like game three against Clemson. Pitching from C&K (that’s Carson and Karson) has to be locked solid and we can only pray what Sunday will bring. We can’t do it on two pitchers alone. First pitch 7PM.