Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
PITCHING, PITCHING, PITCHING. Where hitting was a scarcity from both sides, it only took one swing of the bat to decide the final outcome. Yoyo was the difference maker coming in the second inning with a runner on. No one knew, at the time, that was all the Miami offense would be able to muster and would have to rely on the pitching mound to take it the rest of the way. Once again, the starting pitching could not get beyond the 5th and for the second night the BP pitched flawlessly for 4 1/3 innings only allowing for two hits without a run crossing the plate. Jake Smith started, pitching upward to 98 MPH and did not give up his first hit until the 4th inning . Louisville would not see their second hit until the 8th inning and that is when things started getting dicey from both sides. Key defensive plays and sloppy base running coming from each team had the game in the balance in the 8th. With the dust clearing in the 8th, Carson locked in his 13th save with a strikeout looking to their #1 hitter clinching a series win.
Strikeouts were the order of the day for both sides, as once again pitching took a front row seat. Starter Jake Smith had the Cardinal batters in a trance until the 5th having thrown 50 pitches through 4, striking out 5 with just one hit coming in the 4th. Louisville was doing likewise with our hitters until the second inning. The second inning Miami would find their only opening in what would be a lockdown afterwards in hitting for the remainder of the game. Christian opened the second with a leadoff single and then Yoyo not wasting any time at the plate took the first pitch 436 feet to dead center putting Miami up 2-0 which is where it would remain until the final out.
Miami in the 4th had an opportunity to add to their score with runners on the corners with one out. Yoyo opened the inning with a leadoff walk followed by Alex going opposite field for a single putting Yoyo on 3rd. Jordan was robbed of an RBI single by a great defensive play by their second baseman making a diving grab which would have been the 3rd run of the game rather than the 2nd out. At this point in the game, that one play you could feel the shift of balance swinging in favor of Louisville.
Going into the 5th, Jake was still in total control and it appeared he was on his way to go where very few Miami pitchers have gone before; getting past the 5th intact. With two outs, he hits the batter on first pitch and then follows it up with a 5 pitch walk. Not taking any chances, Spencer Bodanza with a fresh arm makes quick work with a pop out to Pitelli.
All was quiet coming from both sides until the 8th with Miami first to stir the fires. CDC would get Miami’s first hit since the 4th inning coming with two outs. Yoyo looking to create more damage hits a liner to right center which if the RF had not made a spectacular catch of the drive would have scored Christian from first and have yoyo standing on at least second.
Preventing a run from scoring, the Cardinal started their own rattling of the cages of Miami pitching in the bottom half of the inning. A lead off single, only their second hit, turned into a disaster. The runner put on the skids turning first and could not return to first before Pitelli getting the relay from Lala throws him out at first. Called safe getting back into first but reversed after video replay had him clearly out. With one out, not taking any chances in comes the STOPPER trying to hold onto a two run lead. First batter grounds deep to Pitelli who boggles the backhand pickup and the runner beats out the throw. Ruled a hit (questionable). Dominic would once again be involved in what should have been a 4-6-3 DP ending the inning, is extended with a wide throw to first. With infield play getting sloppy, Carson assured no further damage occurring with a 4 pitch strikeout.
With the craziness of the 8th ending with mistakes coming from both sides, Miami does not take the lesson learned from poor base running with CJ leading off. CJ lays down a perfect bunt towards third which their pitcher having no play at first throws the ball passed the 1B into right. Rather than CJ stopping at second tries stretching it to third and caught trying. Don’t know if he was on his own in making the decision, but it was definitely a wrong one with no one out and him standing on second. Goes down as a bunt single, E1, 9-6-5 put out. Gil would follow with a single and which would have had CJ scoring or runners on the corner no outs. Gil is caught stealing and if he was playing conservative, with Lala walking would at the very least have BL no outs. Instead two outs runner at first. Pitelli’s FO to left would in worse case scenario would have been the insurance run we needed with possibility of more. Final tally: NO RUNS.
Still holding onto a 2 run lead, Carson helps his own course getting the lead off batter in the 9th. Quick thinking by Carson to cover an open 1B left vacant by CJ also trying to field the grounder that Anthony make a great play on . Louisville trying to keep their hopes alive bring in their best hitter who did not start due to being hit in his foot yesterday and did not start. Batting over .370, Henry Davis is by far their most dangerous hitter. Carson biggest challenge, he takes him down looking in 4 pitches earning him a well deserved 13th save of the season
Offensively, not much to cheer about. Other than Yoyo HR in the second the bats were all but quiet. 7 hits total only with one in multiple numbers: Big Brother 2-4. No extra base hits with 6 scattered singles.
It was all pitching not only from our starter who pitched a great game striking out 6 and giving up a lone hit in the 4th. The BP of Bodanza, Walters, and Palmquest carried the flag ensuring a series win only allowing two hits. Miami pitching staff has only allowed 7 hits over the two days. Whether we see Bondanza and Palmquest again is questionable but if so it will be limited duty not wanting to overtax their arms with the Tournament starting next week.
Tomorrow for the SWEEP and possible a winning the Coastal. With GT winning with a walk off HR in the 9th, not certain Miami even with a sweep can still take the the #2 seeding. One thing is certain, we have to take care of our own business and not watch the scoreboard as to other games in the Conference. First pitch at High Noon.