Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

The Canes drop the final game of the series punching the ticket for Pitt to Charlotte. CJ Funk with his 10th homer (grand slam) of the year in the 8th was the clincher ensuring the final slot to the Tournament being decided. Pitt led for most of the game with Miami, tying the score in the 5th, only to see it blown in the 7th with a 3 run blast and finalizing it in the 8th with the Grand Slam. Daniel Cuvet at his final at bat of the regular season collects his 21st round tripper with a man on. Too little, too late as the Canes fall 10-7.

Being the last game of the season, JD did a bit of shuffling with the starting lineup to give players who have seen little action this year a chance to show their wears at the plate and in the field. Daniel Cuvet moved from third to first. Replacing Daniel at third was Eric Fernandez. Dorian had the day off and filling his position was JD Urso. Antonio Jimenez at short rounding out the infield. Jack Scanlon still out with some type of injury but was available to PH as was Dorian. JD went with 6 pitchers out of the BP with Chris Diaz getting the starting call after having started on Tues against FIU.

Right from the opening inning, you knew it was going to be one of those days regarding our offense. Jacoby opened with a single and was forced out at second. WP got Edgardo to second and Daniel walked. Runners on 1st and 2nd Lucas singles to load the bases, one out. Based on our track record you could almost guess what would happen next: 6-4-3 DP. The same in the second with Carrier opening with a double and Jimenez walking with one out. This time JD grounding into a 4-6-3 DP. Two opening DPs sums up what we have seen all season from the offense. The Canes had been plagued of not being able to get the key hit when needed.

The score would remain at zero across the board until the the 4th when an unregistered error would pay the price with the next swing of the bat. Panthers had a man on first (walk) one out. A routine pop up in foul territory drops harmlessly in front of Daniel as he loses it in the sun. Why he was not wearing sun glasses is inexcusable. Second chance for Ryan Zuckerman and he makes The Canes pay the price homering to left to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead which would end the day for Chris Diaz with a season high 67 pitches. During the change of pitchers, someone from the dugout came out and personally handed Daniel a pair of sunglasses. You can move the man fronm third to first, but his lack of fielding follows him.

Slaide Naturman replaced Chris who completed the innining without further scoring but an opening double in the 5th followed by an RBI single gave Pitt a 3-0 lead before the Canes had the opportunity to strike back. Miami did indeed strike back in the 5th with a trio of runs to tie the score at 3. Eric Fernandez started the inning with a single and Jimenez walking. Miami caught a lucky break that should have gone for Miami’s third DP with the SS mishandling the ball. Should have been ruled an E5, instead an RBI single. Miami’s second run on Edgardo grounding out 4-3 scoring Jimenez who was on third, and Cuvet completing the trio of runs with his first hit of the series after going 0-10. Score tied at 3.

Two innings later, Pitt broke the tie with their second homer of the day with two aboard from erlier walks. JT Caruso started the 7th after relieving Chestnutt who pitched the 6th without relinquishing a run ending his inning on an unassisted DP by Urso at second. JT hadn’t seen action since the Louisville series back in mid April. He pitched to one batter who he walked and had a 2-0 count on the next batter when he grabs his upper left leg appearing to have pulled a hamstring. He exits making it one less person in an already depleted BP. Jordan Vargas brought in to pitch with a 2-0 count on the books which he ends up walking. Two on, no outs, count 0-1, Jayden Melendez tees off for Pitt’s second homer with two on board breaking the deadlock at 3 and taking the lead 6-3.

The Canes respond in the bottom of the inning with JD Urso doing likewise with his 4th homer (414′) of the season but his was with no one on, narrowing the score to 6-4.

The 8th would be the crusher for the Panthers that would sail them into the Tournament. Ashton Crowther in relief of Vargas in the 8th after a walk, HP, SAC putting runners on 2nd and 3rd. Ashton walks his first batter to load the bases. With the BL and the count 1-2 to CJ Funk, he propels the Panthers into Charlotte with a Grand Slam to CF. 10-5 and Miami would need  one of those classical Magical Moments.

Antonio started on a positive note with a walk. WP and two ground outs followed. Urso on second, and Edgardo delivers with an RBI singles bringing Daniel to the plate. The long awaited 21st is delivered putting Miami to within 3, but the door is shut with Gaby grounding out 6-3. Panthers came into the series looking for the sweep to keep them alive and with a little help from Clemson, Louisville and us they leave Miami with a trip to Charlotte.

Offensively, Miami had their chances and they are going to have to do a lot better come next week. Only two players with multiple numbers: Daniel Cuvet 2-4(HR,3RBIs) and JD Urso 2-4(HR,2RBIs). Lorenzo Carrier had the only other extra base hit: Double.

Pitching is a disaster. All our starting pitchers had a dsappointing outing with the exception of Chris Diaz and Gage Ziehl. Rafe and Herick were blown out yesterday and Crowther today. Name of the game is for the starters to go deep staying as long as possible from a depleted BP which is an uncertainty on what you will get. Myles Caba has come out of the series I believe as our Closer for the performance he gave on Thursday night with 6 up and 6 strikeouts. The team as a whole is going to need strong smarts playing their position and at the plate.

Schedule won’t be released until tomorrow but we will open against Clemson and have Louisville as the third team in our bracket reulting from NCS beating Wake today. Everyone record is 0-0 and anything can happen, even the Cardiac Canes taking 4 and the Championship.

See you in Charlotte. 


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