Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
For the second day, Miami found themselves in a pitcher’s battle. More so, they found themselves, unlike yesterday, trying to hold off a hard-charging Duke team. In both games, the shift in momentum came in the 8th inning. Duke yesterday could not hold onto a one-run lead and today Miami found themselves in a like situation where there 3 run lead became one. For the second day, Andrew Walters is given the call and for the second day, he answers for his 8th save of the season. However, the road getting there only came after a shakey 8th where a double off the blue monster in left was inches away from tying the score at 4 followed by a great play by Dominic at short to end the Blue Devils’ rally. The 9th after a nail-biting 8th ended like it did yesterday with a pair of strikeouts to clinch the series.
Starting lineup 1-5 which has been set in stone remained unchanged. The change came in the way of a new face making his first career start which seemed a bit of a surprise. Moving up to bat in the 6th position Dominic followed by Gaby remained in the lineup batting 7th. Dorian who has been on the skids hitting wise batting 8th with newcomer Ariel Garcia making his debut as the DH. Karson Ligon on the hill.
The offense continued to dormant in the early part of the game not finding their first hit and base runner until the third inning when Ariel earned his stripes with a single to left. That was the spark the Canes needed to get the gears in motion. While no runs put on the board, Ariel advanced to second on a WP and CJ walked. It was a start that generated the first score the following inning.
Karson, who has been as solid as his counterpart with a C, did not find today’s outing easy pickings. He struggled through numerous jams having runners on base for 5 of the 6 innings pitched. In the first a hit, walk and WP had runners on 2nd and 3rd with a 6-3 groundout to survive. In the second a pair of singles. The third is a walk and the 5th a single, pair of walks coming with two outs to load the bases. Long fly to the warning track and it was almost deja vu for Duke. The 6th would be Karson’s final inning but didn’t go down in order giving up his 5th walk. 99 pitches but more importantly no runs and not having to turn to the BP early. With ice in his veins getting the key out when required.
With Ariel finally striking the match in the 3rd, the offense went to work. Jacob an inning later with two outs singles to short beating out the throw. Steals second setting up the first score with Dominic doubling to left for the first score of the game.
Miami adds two more in the 6th with a pair of solo Hrs from Yoyo (385′) right of the Blue Monster and Jacob (380′) over the Bull in left.
An inning later, Miami had a chance to blow the game open with BL already one run scored on an RBI single by CJ and Jacob Burke coming to bat. Already 2-3 today with a HR in his last at-bat. Miami would have to settle with the one run with Jacob grounding out 5-3. Miami 4 unanswered runs leading 4-0.
With the change of pitchers, Rafe Schlesinger replaced Karson and starts off by giving up a double to left-center. Advancing to third on a ground-out to first, Gino has seen enough after 8 pitches and brings in set-up pitcher, Gage Ziehl. Like Karson, off to a shaky start with a 4-3 groundout and the Blue Devils are finally on the scoreboard after 17 innings. Pair of walks and while you couldn’t see it the call had to be sent to the BP to get Andrew warming up.
One out single in the 8th brings up Alex Mooney batting 9th in the order 0-3 for the day. Takes a 1-0 count and delivers a 2 RBI Homer hitting the Bull in left. This brings Duke within one and the call to the BP for Andrew. Duke was feeling the momentum shifting in their direction, but they are now facing the BEST. Strikes out the first batter faced. RJ Schreck takes the count 1-2 before delivering a blast to deep left and you could feel the air leave the Miami dugout as the ball hits inches away from tying the score at four. With a man on second, Andrew once again takes the count to within a strikeout 1-2 before getting bailed out on a great charging play by Dominic to get the final out and erasing Schreck’s dash for home to tie the score.
The 9th, Miami had a chance to add a bit of insurance with runners on 2nd and 3rd. CJ had a one-out single, steals second, and advances to third on a WP. One out, man on third Edgardo to bat. Anything but a K which he does for the 3rd time today. Yoyo is intentionally walked and steals second. Max who has been hitless for the series, continues his downward trend streaming towards the Mendoza Line grounding out 4-1.
Andrew found his mojo in the 9th taking Duke down in order to secure the series by striking out, like last night, the final two batters for save #7
Not an offensive-packed game until we initially started hitting in the 3rd. 14 strikeouts are nothing to brag about and needs to be worked on. Three of our starters accounted for a trio of Ks.(Villegas,Romero,A Garcia). Had four of our starters with multiple hits: CJ 3-4(RBI); Yoyo 2-4(HR,RBI); Jacob Burke 2-4(HR,RBI); Dominic 2-4(double,RBI).
The win could not have been made possible except by the errorless performance of our defense accomplishing several plays that prevented runs on the board. Pitching not at its best, but coming up with the big pitch when needed.
Tomorrow at NOON, going for our second sweep in as many weeks. Alejandro Rosario to start and possibly pitching-by-committee to follow if he once again has an early departure. Miami is still looking for their Sunday starter hoping that Rosario has found his way back to earlier expectations.