By: Mike Kaffee, Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
BELIEVE IT OR NOT. Miami loses on a ONE HITTER. Victor Mederos was untouchable throwing no hit ball, needing just 31 pitches through the first four innings(8,8,8,7) against a clueless Virginia team. The 5th,however would change all this. In a blink of an eye, the untouchable, started decisively losing control. Loading the bases on 3 consecutive walks, brings Devin Ortiz to the plate. With One swing of the bat, Miami’s hope for a series decision ending today and a look towards a sweep was forever put on back burner.
No changes from yesterday’s lineup going with six of the starting nine batting left handed. They would be matched up against the ACC leading Pitcher in strikeouts, Andrew Abbott, who happens to be LH. Miami continues to struggle against LH pitching and today would be no different. Abbott would prove too overwhelming in just allowing 4 scattered hits of shutout ball for 8 innings. Miami inconsistency to get on base seems to be unsolvable when it comes to LH pitching only batting .154 striking out 8 times.
The whole game comes down to just one inning: the 5th. On both sides up until then it was a Pitching Royale where neither team could get the upper hand through the first 4 innings. Miami was making good contact with the ball and it seemed that it would be only a matter of time before they found the opening. Va. on the other hand, could not read what was being thrown at them with each inning lasting no more than 8 pitches. This would all change in the 5th.
It was if a different Mederos came to the mound in the 5th. Where through the first 4 innings he was hitting the strike zone regularly, not so in the 5th. Three straight walks with a WP thrown in loaded the bases with no one out. Devin Ortiz batting 8th hitting .197 with one swing of the bat changes the entire course of the game. He has been hot with the bat lately coming off of a HR last night against Carson Palmquest. Today, he can add a triple off the LF wall clearing the bases and him trotting home on a throwing error by Lala that went in the dugout. That would end the day for Victor with just 51 pitches and ONLY one hit. For the Cavaliers that was all they would need. It was if the wind was blown out of the sails for Miami and they would not have a response for the remainder of the game.
Offensively,there is nothing to say except what I have repeatedly stated: Miami can not hit LH pitching. The problem is that we have too many LH in the starting lineup but it also happens to be that is where all our power is. Just 5 hits scattered all being singles and no one in multiple number.
Defensively, did commit 4 errors, but it had no bearing as to the outcome of the game. Two of the 4 errors came in the 8th by Adam Frank who came in to play 3rd after PH for Pitelli. With Pitelli out, Gino moved Yoyo over to SS.
There was one highlight moment in the game which should make the top 10 list on Sports Center tonight. Came in the 7 inning one out. Dominic Pitelli makes an unbelievable back hand grab of a grounder in short left field and throws out Max Cotier at first. Dominic might be struggling with the bat, but he is in the lineup because of his defensive prowess. Plays like that have almost become routine for him.
Pitching, Victor Mederos was untouchable for 4 innings in probably the best start of any pitcher this year. Then with one swing of the bat, it changed everything. Virginia would not see another hit the rest of the game and Jake Smith and Alex Munroe provided excellent relief from the BP.
You can’t win games unless you can hit the ball and Miami there is no telling which team is taking to the field. Until we learn to hit LH pitchers it will a team who will continue to flounder its way hoping for one of our power hitters to hit it over the fence to give us the margin of victory. We can’t win on pitching alone. These bats have to start to contribute on a regular basis or we will remain in the middle of the pack; if at that.
Tomorrow, weather permitting, the rubber game in the hope to salvage the series. Virginia will be throwing a RH so there is at least some sort of hope. Gino is handing the ball over to Jordan Dubberly for his showing against FAU on Tuesday. Start time is projected for 1PM.