By: Mike Kaffee, Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Tonight, Miami put the endorsement jumping from preseason hype, to actually looking like the team we had all been anticipating. We saw the butterfly break out of their cocoon Sunday and tonight they showed it was not a fluke. All aspects of their game was like watching a world of difference from what we saw against VT and as late as Friday night where we were a total train wreck. Gino Saturday took a gamble and decided that defensively a total new looked was required and removed two veterans who have not been producing with the glove or bat and made the call for the young blood. Yoyo at 3rd, Dominic at short and CJ at first not only solidified the IF, but their contributions with the bat has exceeded expectations. The biggest surprise for me has been CJ who now has 2 HRs,one tonight and just missed his 3rd (double) by inches earlier. His first hit as a Cane was a HR and not seeing him preseason, he has definitely been dazzling. Tonight, we just might have found the one to fill the void in the weekend rotation. From a very shaky opening, Jake not only turned it around, but did it in style dominating the a top 25 ranked team. At 64 pitches through 6 innings ,he was still pitching strong, but I am hoping Gino took him out to start on Sunday and finally put to rest Daniel in the starting rotation. It was not only a revitalized defense we watched tonight but the ball was singing off the bats with 4 of 10 hits being for extra bases. Tonight we batted an amazing .323 and with RISP .400 leaving only 3 LOB (all being CDC). With the change in lineup even our strikeouts were at a respectable 6. In the first 6 games we had a total of just 2HRS. In the last 3 game we have added 7 more to the total including two tonight. Anthony Vilar is on a 7 game hitting streak with two more hits tonight and 3 RBIs and Jordan Lala has reached safely on base 17 of his last 18 games (including last year). Yes, there is reason to celebrate the 11 run outbreak, for this is a team ready to put aside the hype and start showing the reality of a championship caliber team.
The lineup was a bit of a surprise in not seeing Alex Toral either at 1B or DH. Gil had already been sidelined and no longer in the picture but the total new look at the corners (Yoyo and CJ) is what we intend to see in the future if anything can be said of their performance with Pitelli and Vilar in the middle. Batting wise,no change in 1-4 with big brother (CDC) moving up to follow little brother (DC); tonight’s DH at 5. Batting 6th is Carlos Perez making his first start behind the plate. Rounding out the batting order of CJ, Pitelli, and Jenkins. No word as to the status of Chad Born who came up lame during Sunday’s game. I did see him in uniform tonight so it just might be a sprain rather than a hamstring. Jake Garland on the mound in his first start.
As earlier mentioned Jake got off to a shaky start and it looked he was continuing in the downward spiral for Friday night in the opener with NCS. A lead off triple followed up with an RBI put the Owls momentary on top 1-0.
We did not have a response until the 3rd inning when we answered with a pair of runs and it marked the beginning to score for the next 4 innings. Jenkins reached first to lead off by being hit. Advanced to second on a WP. Lala got his second walk in the evening and a second WP advanced both runners an additional base. Runners on 2nd and 3rd no outs, Vilar and Yoyo grounded out 4-3 but two runs scored as a result. This was only the beginning,but for FAU, it was the beginning of the end.
The 4th is where the hype became the reality in 10 coming to the plate and bringing away 7 runs on 4 hits leaving no one on base. It started with Big Brother opening with a double and Little Brother finishing with a 3 run RBI no doubter over the RF fence. Three times we had the BL and each time took advantage with each succeeding batter (WP,Vilar single,Yoyo SF) until DC finalized it with runners on the corners. The scoring started after CDC had opened with a double and two batters later CJ just missed his 2nd HR of the season by a matter of inches to LF. Not to be discouraged, CJ the following inning would find those missing inches in barely cleared the RF fence. To add to the drama, the RF kept everyone in suspence not showing if he caught the ball or not.
One more run was added in the 6th to extend the lead to 11-1 with with 3 consecutive singles (Lala,Vilar(RBI),Yoyo). Lala had advanced to 2nd on a WP.
The 7th inning brought a clearing of the bench defensively where Gino gave the starters a well earned rest. 6 fresh faces to include Jordan Dubberly replacing Garland on the mound, and Jose Izarra making his collegiate debut at second. Gabe remained in center and Lala and CDC replaced by Frank and Rivera. In the IF Gil and Toral came in at the corners.
The change in the IF was very notable, because the smoothness of all night had a downgrade in timing and execution. Gil had what I would have given a fielding error and Izarra had trouble with a grounder which should have been a DP but threw the timing off in the toss to Pitelli and runner was ruled safe with Dominic overrunning the relay. Same thing happened to him during the NCS game.
FAU could not take advantage of these two mental miscues but manage to put one more run on the board in the 8th off the pitching of Jake smith who came in to pitch that inning. An opening walk on 4 straight pitches followed by a single put runners on the corner. Pitelli learning from the prior inning not to chance a timing issue with a grounder back to him (shift) took the DP
by himself throwing the relay off balance as he tagged the base from the shift side of the bag at second.
Nicholas Regalado in his first appearance, and impressively, just needed 10 pitches to shut the OWLs down in order and we hooted our way to an 11-2 win.
Offensively, three in double digits. Anthony Vilar continues with his terror with the bat going 2-4 (3RBIs), DC 2-4(HR,3RBIs), CJ Kayfus2-3(HR,2B,2RBIs). Yoyo not in multiple numbers hitwise did record a pair of RBIs.
The one recorded error defensively did not result in any damage. As earlier reported this new look put on display tonight changed everything in the way we will be doing business moving forward.
Pitching, Jake put on a performance which I feel earns him a crack at the weekend rotation. As stated only 64 pitches through 6 only giving up 3 hits, one run with 3 Ks and no walks. I will be horrified if Gino gives Daniel another bite of the apple. For me and so many others agree that he is one we don’t want to see come Friday night. Of the 3 out of the BP tonight, Nicholas Regalado I was most impressed with. His number should be moved upward rapidly when the call to the BP is given.
Weekend series still very much up in the air. WF game against Elon was postponed. Probably won’t know who we are playing until Thursday. We just need to play someone to keep this momentum moving.