By: Mike Kaffee, Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
The Sleeping Giant has finally awaken. In an explosive display of hitting coming in the 2nd inning combined with precision pitching from starting pitcher Jake Smith, Miami decisively clinched a series victory over the Appalachian State Mountaineers.It has not been since 15 Feb 2015 against Rutgers has Miami put up a double digit score in an inning. Tonight in the second, seven batters would reach base before the first out recorded. Gil would open the inning with a double followed with five straight hits. 38 minutes later 15 batters would come to the plate recording 10 runs on 8 hits. They would build on this in the 5th with a 2 run HR by big Brother, his 4th of the year, and going long ball twice more in the 6th by Jared Thomas, his second, followed two batters later by CJ Kayfus, his 5th for the season. It wasn’t until the 7th that the Mountaineers finally broke through the Miami BP to avoid the shutout. Carson Palmquest would not be needed tonight to bail what has been a struggling offense for most of the season as for once the bats and starting pitcher were on the same page to lock in the series with a convincing 16-1 victory.
Only change to the lineup, was Carlos Perez batting 9th behind the plate with DC going to right replacing Gabe who would be out of the rotation. Jake Smith would be making his first appearance in the Saturday rotation.
This was an entirely different team taking to the field tonight as they struggled last night trying to hit a LH pitching. Tonight the Mountaineers went with a RH and it was party time. Miami was just getting warmed up in the 1st with Anthony getting his second double in two nights coming with one out. This was followed by 2 walks to load the bases before Big Brother who is batting .512 with RISP gets The Canes on the board with a SF to center.
It was the second, that the bats became electrified starting with Raymond opening with a double off the LF wall and 5 other following with hits. Seven batters reached safely before the first out recorded. 5 runs would results from the string of 6 hits and a walk. Gil who started the inning with a double would come round with another double this time with BL earning him a pair of RBIs. Anthony would also get his second hit of the inning also coming with BL earning him a pair of RBIs along with an earlier RBI in the initial string of hits. The second inning was the strongest display of raw power all season.
While the bats were going crazy, Jake was doing likewise on the mound keeping them hitless until the 4th inning with a single to right. While he was masterful on the mound, it would only take him to the 5th inning having thrown 85 pitches. McFarlane only able to last 4.2 but likewise only allowed two hits. Based on their performance, I think we are finally found our Fri and Sat starters. If Jake Garland can do likewise tomorrow than this part of the puzzle will be solved. The remaining piece will be that tonight was not just a fluke but a change in direction for our hitting.
With the score at 11-0 into the 5th, Big Brother would add two more to the total with his 4th of the year clearing the RF wall.
The 6th inning was the clearing of the bench and they did not wait long before being heard. Two round trippers by Jared Thomas and CJ Kayfus replacing DC and Alex who went to the wall twice but just could clear the fence in right. Alex would be the only starter without a hit tonight.
Other than Jared and CJ, the rest of the bench could not contribute with the bat striking out 6 times in the final two innings.
App State finally getting on the board during Jordan Dubberly rotation in the 7th. An opening single followed by 2 WPs put the runner on third with no one out. A single up the middle would be the lone score.
It was boys night out putting on an offensive clinic coming with 14 hits; four of which were for extra bases and three for the distance. Only two with multiple numbers: Vilar 3-5 (2B,3RBI); Gil 3-4 (2 doubles,2RBI). Also Perez with a double and RBI and HRs: Thomas,CDC, and CJ. Overall hitting tonight against RH pitching .368 compared to last night against a LH .185. This is one of our Achilles Heels. We can’t hit LH pitching.
After 8 different rotations in the last 12 series, I believe we finally have a keeper with McFarlane and Smith. Have to see how they do against ACC competition starting with GT next week. This will be their first true test.
Tomorrow for the sweep which would be a big boost for everyone. Tonight, they got the taste and tomorrow they hopefully get to enjoy the dessert. First pitch at 1PM.