Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

For the second time in as many weeksMiami failed to complete the sweepasadetermined Carolina team came out swinging handing Miami its worst defeat of the season. The Tar Heels put up 18 runs on 17 hits holding Miami to just 6 runs in a game-shortened contest called after 7 innings due to the Mercy Rule. Miami always chasing but never keeping up with the outpouring of runs Carolina delivered. Herick Hernandez started struggling in the second inning and could not complete 4 innings after giving up five runs having thrown 94 pitches. Miami would bring in 6 pitchers to try to stop the bleeding and no one was able to go beyond an inning, being blown off the hill with run after run. The Heels would knock it out of the park on 7 different occasions including a grand slam in the 5th accounting for 13 of their 18 runs. In six of the seven innings, they managed to get the lead-off batter on scoring in each. After Miami was trailing by 4 runs in the third they managed to cut the lead in half and by the 4th narrowed it to one. Tar Heels answered with 11 unanswered runs over the course of the next two innings which included a grand slam in the fifth and seeing 13 players come to the plate in the 6th adding two more HRs to the three they already had. Miami still with a bit of life left in their bats managed to give themselves a fighting chance to wave off the Mercy Rule coming back with two in the 6th to bring the margin to 10 runs, but two more HRs in the 7th by Carolina put the game out of reach as the Canes fall in order in the 7th to give the Tar Heels a well-earned victory and avoiding the sweep with a decisive statement. Today Carolina played like the 15th rank team in the country and Miami demonstrated that they will continue to suffer from their lack of pitching coming out of the BP.

Miami coming off of a high from last night’s walk-off victory came into Sunday’s contest feeling very confident they would be bringing out the brooms today. From the opening batter, North Carolina made sure this wouldn’t happen leading off with an opening single. While they didn’t score,  Herick was already struggling to complete the inning throwing 22 pitches and it only got progressively worse from there. A double to lead off the second followed by their 1st of 7 HRs for the day was the start of the rout that was to follow. Heels would add two more in the second,

before Miami had the opportunity to answer with a couple of runs of their own to cut the margin to two thanks to Miami’s lone HR of the day by Jake Kulikowski; the first of his collegiate career.

Heels got right back with one of their own in the 5th. The offense trying to keep up with all the runs surrendered by starter Herick Hernandez managed to move to within one run of the lead before the Hialeah Fire had a flameout and the fire rescue team from the BP kept pouring gas on the out-of-control blaze. Five runs in the 5th included a Grand Slam and the finishing touch in the 6th with 13 batters coming to the plate and leaving with 6 more runs on six hits and two walks including a pair of homers. JD would walk twice to the mound relieving Brandon Olivera and JT Caruso finishing with Sliade Naturman who would not return to pitch the 7th even though he was the only pitcher not to give up a run but had two walks and a single to load the bases before getting the final out deep to right.

Miami facing the Mercy Rule with 6 outs remaining and trailing 16-4, the offense did manage to cut the margin to 10 with a SF to center by Jake and an RBI single by Jacoby Long, at the close of the 6th. Still, as quickly as the offense showed a bit of spark, the BP just as quickly erased the gain with a pair of HRs from Chris Scinta our 6th reliever of the day to boost the lead back to 12 which the offense was unable to make up the needed 3 runs to keep the game going. No Cardiac Canes and definitely no Miami Magic to save an 18-6 loss.

Offensively, a day the bats would again remain silent with just 8 scattered hits and no one with multiple numbers. Three doubles (Blake Cyr,Dorian Gonzalez,Jack Scanlon) and one HR by Jake Kulikowski were all the hits that the Canes could muster. Moving the line continued to be a major issue.

Pitching-wise it can be summarized in one word: disaster. Starting pitcher Herick Hernandez could not get beyond the 5th getting relieved after 4.1 innings giving up 5 runs on seven hits. It was a revolving door as the call to the BP was made over and over and none of the 6, except for Slaide Naturman, walked away with less than two runs charged to them. 10 walks were issued today. To summarize and to the point: Pitching is our Achilles Heel.  Having a starter for his second time failing to make it to the 6th gives little hope that this team has any chance of going deep in the postseason. Right now we Have a Friday and Saturday starter and that’s it. We do have a set-up and a closer to give us a fighting chance but until we see the return of some of our injured we will keep floundering hoping that our offense can stay ahead on what seems to be an impossible task.

Tuesday the Battle of the 305  commences the first of 4 games this season. Two games will be played here and the other two at FIU. First pitch at the Light 6PM


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