Morales’ 3-Homer Night Leads #1 Canes To 11-6 Victory Over #4 Canisius

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

The Golden Griffin, is a superhero of mythological creatures, with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion having the strength of a lion and the ability to launch aerial attacks. Unfortunately for this Golden Griffin, they had not been challenged by the likes of “Yoyo” Morales who launch his own aerial attack for three HRs and 5 RBIs in a one-man show that put the Canes into the winner’s bracket of the Coral Gables Regionals.

Miami not playing their best baseball struggled in the first two innings behind the pitching of Karson Ligon who has been in a spiral descent the second half of the season. Four hits, 2 runs, and 33 pitches in the first inning alone spelled the makings of a very short stay on the mound for the Miami freshman starter. Eight batters in the first and 7 in the second and by the end of the second inning Miami was trailing 4-1. Yoyo with his first of three HRs coming in the first was keeping Miami somewhat in the game. The Golden Griffin continued to flex its strength into the second dramatically ending the day for Karson only having pitched 1.1 innings spotting Canisius 4 runs and putting Miami once again playing from behind. Miami turned to Ronaldo Gallo to stop the bleeding that had laid waste and put Miami in catch-up mode once again. The turning point of the game came in the 3rd inning and turned a very quiet stadium into an electrifying showcase. The play of the game and which has to be considered the play of the season opened the third with a spectacular diving catch by Dominic Pitelli that not only put the brakes on any further hits by the Griffins until the 7th but ignited the spark that the team was needing to move them from passive to aggressive.

The spark that Dominic lit to start the inning Ronaldo sent it blazing with a pickoff at second with BL to end the inning. With newfound energy, Miami approached their half of the third as an inspired team with CJ opening with a single and Yoyo two batters later connecting with a laser of a shot off the CF wall to put Miami to within a run. Jacob Burke tied the score at 4 with a solo homer of his own in almost the duplicate spot that Yoyo hit his to center. 

The score stayed tied through the next 3 innings but you just knew that Miami was about to blow the game wide open. They had to wait until Matt Duffy, the starter for Canisius finally left the game at the end of the 6th having thrown 99 pitches and striking out 8. CJ opened the 7th facing the Griffins’ new pitcher with his second single. It was the man of the hour stepping to the plate with one out and CJ on first. Yoyo, once again goes for the trifecta to his favorite spot in center for HR #3 and gives Miami its first lead of the day.

Miami not through yet builds on the two run lead with a BL(HP,double,walk) single by Dorian Gonzalez scoring two more and giving Miami a comfortable lead of 8-4 with 2 innings left, knowing you have Andrew Walters waiting in the wings if needed.

Needed he was after Alex McFarlane unable to hold back one final attack by a stubborn Canisius team in loading the bases after a pair of singles and hit batter, followed by an RBI single to narrow the margin to three. Andrew gets the call with BL and one out. Mr Perfection does what he does best in putting an end to any threat with a strikeout and FO to left.

Miami answered in the 8th, with a trio of runs brought about on an E5 with BL, and 2 outs. What should have been an inning-ending routine ground out opened Pandora’s Box with an unearned run followed up with Zach adding to the Griffin’s mistake with a two-out RBI single stretching the lead to 11-5.

Sporting now a 6 run lead and Andrew on the mound, little hope was left for the Golden Griffins to do what no team has done before. What should have been three quick put-outs, turned out to be the most unusual ending to any game this year. Started what should have been a routine FO to left for the second out is dropped by Jacob putting a runner on first. Then the strangest play ever. A fly to right is boggled by Renzo but holds on to it called out by the 1st base umpire. Canisius batter thought the ball was dropped and kept running ending up at second. The ball was thrown into second and the umpire at second called the runner safe. Everyone was yelling from the dugout that the batter was out and touched the bag to double up the runner that was on first to end the game. After much confusion, whoever was holding the ball eventually touched second base. Apparently, he touched the wrong base. Should have thrown to first where the runner now sitting on third started from. Gino went ballistic as to the ruling. Eventually, it was decided that the runner at second was indeed out but let the runner remain on third. No explanation was given but I am assuming is that what I originally stated that the wrong base was stepped on. Television announcers might have explained it which I was not privy to. Hopefully, I will have an explanation tomorrow. Bottom line, man on third two outs. RBI single and walk followed before the final strikeout of the game for Andrew’s 14th save.

Offensively, the bats finally came to play after a disappointing appearance in Charlotte at the ACC Tournament. 5 Players with multiple hits. CJ Kayfus 2-4; Jacob Burke 2-5(double,HR,RBI); Zach Levenson 2-3(2RBIs); Dorian Gonzalez 2-5(2RBIs) and the MVP of the game Yohandy “Yoyo” Morales 4-4 (3HRs,5RBIs). Overall the team batted .351 but struck out 12 times. With 13 hits, the bats are finally coming alive at the right time.

Pitching continues to show our Achilles Heel. Starter Karson Ligon just did not have it lasting just 1.1 innings allowing 4 runs on 6 hits without a strikeout and walking one. The BP struggled utilizing 5 to complete the game. Pitching by committee might hurt us before the Regionals are completed since we used our Big Guns tonight and might not be readily available for the remainder of the Regionals. Pitchers that we have relied on(Gallo, McFarlane) came up short while Torres and Ziehl pitched well. A big concern is Andrew had to throw 34 pitches tonight and he looked tired by the game’s end. We are going to need him, but one has to wonder if he will be able to answer the call if and when needed.

These questions and others will be answered tomorrow at approximately 305PM, weather permitting, when we play Ole Miss who beat Arizona 7-4.


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