By: Mike Kaffee, Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
The Canes EXPLODED and the Blue Devils IMPLODED in taking the series exploding for 19 hits (all singles), tying a season high and 11 runs. Duke defense watched itself implode by the end of the second inning having given up 8 runs contributed by errors, WPs,PBs, and even a balk thrown in. Their SS alone committed 3 recorded errors but easily could have had one more that easily gone either way. Their starting pitcher never got past the 2nd inning administering 8 runs on 10 hits. Every batter in the starting 9, with the exception of Adam Frank, had at least one hit with 6 with multiple numbers. The Brothers alone accounted for 7 of the 19 hits with Big Brother having his best day going 4-4 with a couple of RBIs. Victor Mederos for 4 innings was basically untouchable with just 2 hits and 7 strikeouts. Then, like last week, unable to get past the 5th inning. Victor related he for some reason gets the jitters going into the 5th. Now with his first win under his belt, the pressure is off and expect him going deeper in weeks to come. Tonight, however he loaded the bases in the 5th and Joey Loperfido sails one over the scoreboard for the Grand Salami bringing the score within 5. Miami would answer with 2 in the 7th to put the exclamation point on an evening when nothing other than the Grand Slam went wrong for the Canes and for the Blue Devils where nothing went right except for the Grand Slam.
Only change to the lineup was Adam Frank replacing Gabe Rivera in right, batting 9th. Reported last night,that Gabe was scratched due to illness: not feeling well. No other explanation given but hopefully it is not long term. Even if he is up to playing tomorrow, Gino on the side of caution just might keep him out of the lineup. Also on the IR list, I learned Ben Wanger has been out with an injury but is expected back in a few weeks. That answers my question as to why his number has not been called out of the BP all this time. Could not confirm, but understand he had some type of surgery which was not season ending.
Tonight was a night where the bats were no longer silent and taking advantage of an outpouring of mistakes from Duke. My issue was with our power. ALL of our 19 hits were small ball delivered. Had similar number of hits against FIU on Wednesday where the 19 hits delivered 21 runs; 9 of the 19 were for extra bases. Batting wise tonight we hit .442 compared to 388 on Wednesday and .500 with RISP compared to .357. Against LH pitching pretty much the same .273 vs .250. Strikeouts were once again in double digits 10 vs 11. Strikeouts and runners left on base, 13 today and 14 Wednesday are two areas we really need work on. It is just too much work accounting for runs if all our power can’t deliver extra bases regularly. Tonight, it didn’t bite us, but our low number of runs able to be put on the board is going to haunt us in critical games.
As has been becoming our MO, we get a jump start in the early portion of the game and then the hits/runs start drying up. By the 4th inning, the score was 9-0 and Victor was pitching solid with a pitch count of 52. Duke batters during the 3rd and 4th had 5 consecutive strikeouts before FO to left to end the 4th.
In the first, Vilar continues his hitting streak at 7 witch was also the start of probably Ethan Murray’s worse night playing short. Anthony got the favorable call on a hard grounder to short which could have gone easily the other way to start thing going with one out. DC, with Vilar on second (steal), brings him home for the first run. Back to back singles by by CDC and Toral(RBI) and so starts the runaway. 2-0 end of 1.
The second inning, Duke really imploded seeing 11 Miami players come to the plate and having them walk away with 6 runs on 6 hits which was accompanied by 2 documented errors, one undocumented(all by the SS), balk WPs, PBs. and just plain bad luck.
Duke continued in the 4th with another pair of errors (one by their SS) accounting for one run. Would have been two runs except for CDC being thrown out at home resulting from a base hit to right by Gil and the excellent throw from right on a close call at the plate. Review showed that the tag was made.
It appeared Victor with his low pitch count and 5 of his last strikeouts coming in the prior 2 innings, Victor never expected his day would once again come to an end in the 5th. It was as if a different pitcher was on the mound. From strikeout central (7 through 4) to total loss of control. Opens the 5th with a 5 pitch walk, single on the first pitch and losing a full count walk to have BL no outs. First pitch to Loperfido and Duke, just like that, is back in the ball game cutting the lead almost in half 9-5.
The 5th and 6th Miami had nothing to answer with except striking out 4 times. Fortunately the BP of Andrew Walters and Jake Smith kept them Duke in check through the 8th inning.
Took us until the 7th to cushion the lead by 2 when with no outs and BL, DC hits into a DP scoring one and CDC singling with the man left on 3rd from the DP to score for the 2nd run.
With the score 11-3,Jake quickly got the first two outs before Duke showing a last bit of life singles to third and the throw to first gets by Alex and the runner reaches second. This set up the last scoring with an RBI double. Jake locks in the series win 11-5 with a strikeout.
Offensively, nothing but singles punched out for 19 hits. Six with multiple hits. Lala 3-6 (RBI) now reaching base in his last 27 of 30 games. Exactly what you want in your lead off hitter. Vilar 2-4 (2RBI) hitting 5 straight games.DC 3-5(2RBI); CDC 4-5(RBI)7 straight games for a hit. Gil 2-5(RBI); Petrelli 3-4. Streaks continued for Yoyo at 7 straight going 1-5 and Alex Toral also at 7 with a 1-5 day (RBI).
Defensively, one error in the 9th resulted in a run. But over all another commendable night fighting a wind that was gusting all over the place. Duke was not as fortunate handling the same.
Pitching wise, Victor picked up his first win and hopefully ridding himself of the 5th inning jinx. BP once again did what they were supposed to do. The important thing is our STOPPER is fresh if needed tomorrow.
Jordan Dubberly for the sweep. First pitch Sunday 1PM.