Pitching Struggles But Offense Comes Through, As #6 Canes Defeat UCF, 16-10

Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

The rubber match where Miami was looking to return the favor of the 10-5 loss in Orlando they suffered back in March. Spotting the Knights three runs in the first, Jake Garland did not have the night he wanted and continued to struggle for the four innings on the mound.  Jake’s good fortune and the BP that followed was that the offensive machine once again was operating in high gear with their pedal to the medal. It was a night of marathon hitting by both teams pounding out a combined total of 26 runs on 31 hits, 6 hit batters(five being Canes), 4 HRs leaving the park, and a pair of triples(one from each side). The explosiveness of the Miami hitters was the better of the two batting an overall .425 and with RISP 10-22(.455). The stat which sticks out the most and the big difference maker was with two outs Miami was 7-14 whereas the Knights were 1-9. None more important coming in the first inning with BL and two outs and Zach Leverson hits the equalizer 400′ for the Grand Salami changing the whole complexion of the game and putting Miami in the lead after the Knights had a field day against Jake to open the game and thought they were on the road to put on the Big Hurt on the Canes for the second time. Six of the Canes hit for multiple numbers putting up crooked numbers in the 1st three innings and finalizing the victory in the 5th with 4 more runs highlighted with a lead-off triple by the Collegiate and ACC Player of the Week Yohandy “Yoyo” Morales. The Knights with a 10-run deficit going into the late innings tried for a mini comeback but fell 6 runs short as Miami held on with a 16-10 win.

Minor changes to the lineup coming once again on the musical carousel of DH and who’s playing RF. Zach Levenson,DH, batting 7th, Dorian Gonzalez ingrained back at second after his long injury batting 8th, and Gaby Gutierrez in right batting 9th. Jake Garland is pitching tonight

Jake found himself in a similar situation that our starters have found themselves in lately and that being: control. Jake struggled early and continued to do so for the 4-plus innings that Gino generously kept him in the game. Managed 5 strikeouts and no walks but on the negative side he gave up 10 hits and 6 runs. After the 4th, I was surprised to see him come out to start the 5th along with everyone else in the Park, but after hitting the leadoff batter, Gino in his infamous wisdom decided enough is enough. 

Things started off on a very negative note with an opening triple to start the game, a collision between Jake and Yoyo, and a 4th hit of the inning putting up a 3 spot on the board and leaving Cane fans with their mouths open.

As mentioned in the opening, it was Jake’s good fortune that the offensive machine was still operating in overdrive mode. They not only got back the 3 but added two more of their own to take a 5-3 lead at the end of one. the inning was climaxed by the Grand Salami by Zach his 6th of the year.

In the second, 4 more added to the total with CJ and Edgardo walking to open the inning and Yoyo with a single to load the bases. WP brought in the first run and the new Max stroked the ball through the middle for two more. Since he has foregone swinging for the fences and hitting opposite field, his average has gone up and his strikeouts down. Dorian recorded the 4th run of the inning, but once again a coaching error by Gino sending a runner from third home (Burke) was just the wrong call and ended the inning prematurely. Had runners on 2nd and third 2 outs. Dorian singles to right and scores one. Throw was into second from right. One run scored, but whatever Gino was thinking sends Jacob home. The alert 2B sees Jacob turning third and throws home and once again the ball is long waiting for Jacob’s arrival. 9-3 end of two

Knight hitting still doing a number on Jake with three singles of the first four batters faced to lead off the third getting one run back. However, for every one run, Miami matches with two in the bottom half of the inning. CJ gets the one run back with a solo 364′ shot clearing the RF fence. This was followed by Edgardo getting hit the second time in the game striking the lip of his helmet protecting the side of his face and apparently glancing off striking his jaw. Left the game replaced by Mike Rosario. Hopefully nothing serious. The lip saved him a definitely broken jaw or worse. A WP with an RBI single through the middle by Max for the second score and an 11-4 lead.

Jake was having one of those nights in which nothing he throws is going right for him. For the third time in 4 innings, the leadoff batter hits safely starting his troubles once again. Fortunately for Jake, the offense has built him a cushion to work with. This time an opening double, followed by an RBI single. Add to his woes, SAC bunt back to him, he throws away on his throw to first putting runners on the corners. Surprisingly no action in the BP. Third hit in the inning for the second run and no outs. Finally Jake gives himself a wake-up call striking out the next 3 batters. This puts the Knights to within 5 runs.

Shockingly, Jake starts the 5th, probably because of the 3 strikeouts, but it was obvious that tonight was not his night. Striking the first batter faced, Gino finally had agreed that it was a need to make the call to the BP and brings in Ronaldo Gallo. He has become the go-to man out of the BP and continues to give a stellar performance. Only in for two innings striking out 3 and finally stopping the Knight hitting machine.

Before calling in the reserves, the starters burst out with 4 runs in the 5th sending 9 to the plate to put the exclamation point on the forthcoming win. Yoyo opens with the easiest triple he will ever hit to shallow center. The ball is totally misjudged by the CF going over his head as he was running in on the ball. Max’s single to right, 3rd hit 4th RBI, followed by single from Jacob and Zach (RBI) makes for the second run. Dorian walks to load the bases and CJ with his third hit of the evening and a couple of more RBIs. 15-6 and the Canes are on a runaway express.

After 2 innings of great relief, Ronaldo’s day is done and Anthony Arguelles is brought in. Like Jake , not one of his better pitching performances. A walk, one out RBI double, and a no-doubter to right narrows the margin to 6. Another homer in the 8th served up by Alejandro Torres moves it to within 5.

Miami after two scoreless innings gets back one on an opening throwing error by the SS and a two-out RBI single by Carlos Perez to bump the score back to 6 which is where it finally ends. Gage Ziehl is brought in to close the door and even with an opening single and an E-4 a pair of strikeouts and a FO to left wedge between the Ks ends this marathon of hitting and runs scored with a final of 16-10.

Offensively, the bats continued to scourge hot, hot, hot. Six of the starting nine with multiple hits. CJ Kayfus 3-4(HR,3RBIs); Yoyo Morales 2-5(triple); Maxwell Romero 3-5(4RBIs); Jacob Burke 3-4(RBI); Dorian Gonalez 3-3(RBI); Zach Levenson 2-3(HR,5RBIs). No doubles tonight. 14 of the 17 hits were for singles.

Pitching continues to be an issue. CONTROL has been the killer for our starters and other than Carson we really are not sitting comfortably with our regulars giving us a quality outing. The BP has been having its ups/downs with the exception of Gallo, Zielh, and of course our ACE in the hole Andrew. Hopefully, he won’t have a flameout like Carson did during the postseason last year as Closer. Andrew has been the one to trust the most when he comes on the mound. We are going to need 4 starters to rely on for the post-season if we expect to go deep and deeper if we expect that this is the year to win it all. Hitting is right on target, but without the pitching to complement them, it is not going to end well.

The big test is this weekend when everything is on the line with our Chief Nemesis: The Seminoles. A very, very important series on how the season works out from bragging rights to ACC seating. First pitch Friday 7PM.


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