Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
The bats lit up the LIGHT in a star studded performance as the Sleeping Giant finally awoke to even the series; batting in 10 runs on seventeen hits where everyone in the starting lineup recorded at least one hit. It didn’t stop at hitting, but as Gino stated last night, “it all starts on the mound.” Jake Smith was masterful on the mound tying his season high of 5 innings as he controlled the high hitting Tech team to just 3 hits through 5. Ran into trouble in the 6th with the first two batters breaking through with back to back singles and at 75 pitches Gino went with Daniel Federman to shut down the threat with two on and no outs. Tech continued there comeback drive to get back into the game trailing by 5 worked their way back closing the gap to two runs before Tony Jenkins in the 7th shut the door completing a 4 run rally.He did it with a two RBI double to seal the victory. Miami picked up an insurance run in the 8th along with the BP arms of Spencer Bodanza and Carson Palmquest who ended the momentum shift in the game in the 6th by shutting them down without a hit or run. Senior Day was a memorable one with a 10-3 victory setting up for a series winning decision come Sunday afternoon
Tony Jenkins coming off a 2-4 Friday, Gino moved him up to lead off in today’s game. Vilar moved back to his regular 2nd position. Yoyo usually batting 3rd moved to 5th batting after the Brothers. Toral and Gil follows and with Tech going with a RH pitcher, Lala was put back into the lineup batting 8th and playing left with Dominic Pitelli batting 9th. Jake Smith gets the call for his second start on Saturday and expect to see him in the Friday role against Louisville. He has shown to be the only starter we can rely upon. That opens up Saturday which is depending on how Garland does tomorrow might move him to Saturday and spin the bat on who is to start on Sunday. Everyone we have tried has not been able to get beyond 3 innings. Pitch by committee might be an answer since we do have relievers that can give us one or two good innings. This will not go well in postseason.
Tech opened where they left off with an opening single, but that is where Jake took command from the mound giving five very strong innings only giving up a run and allowing two more hits. Last night the Jackets already had 9 runs on the board and looking for more. Jake made sure this wasn’t going to happen on his watch.
Miami didn’t start cranking it up until the third inning and the Sleeping Giant became awake. Dominic started the inning with a opening single and became aggressive stealing second. Jenkin recorded the 1st out looking at the 3rd strike. Anthony moved Dominic to third on an infield hit. DC puts the first two runs on the board with a double clearing the bases. Yoyo would make it a 3 run inning with an RBI single bringing in DC from 3rd.
With the bats beginning to find the openings, like a contagious disease, it spread throughout the dugout. The following inning which could have been a major breakout inning, we had to settle on just two, stranding 3 on base. Gil started it with an opening walk followed by 4 straight hits (Lala, Pitelli,Jenkins,Vilar) netting two runs. Bases still loaded and the heart of the order (Brothers, Yoyo). Major run potential except for the switch to a LH pitcher which had DC fielder’s choice 5-2, Big Brother striking out and Yoyo ending the inning with a 5-3 groundout. Miami extends the lead to 5-0.
Jake makes quick work of the Jackets in the 5th retiring them in order. Five innings is his season high but at 70 pitches, Gino keeps him in to start the 6th which did not get beyond the first two batters who both single. Gino looks to senior Daniel Federman which always scares me. You never know which Daniel takes to the mound and tonight was no exception. Unable to protect the lead and hold the runners on base Tech works their way back into the ballgame closing to within two runs. Can’t totally blame Daniel. He had a lot of help from Alex Toral who is not the fleetest of foot letting a grounder get through him due to poor reflexes and then dropping on what would have been 6-4-3 DP. The combination of Daniel’s pitching and Toral’s fielding had concerns by all.
Fortunately the 3 run setback righted itself in the 7th with Miami rebound with 4 runs of their own to put the game pretty much no longer in doubt knowing we had Carson waiting in the wings. The 7th started off with back to back singles by Big Brother and Yoyo and with runners on the corners Toral ground outs 4-3 but it was deep enough with the swift for Big Brother to score. With Yoyo on second, Gil punches in the second run with an RBI single. Lala walks setting it up for Tony getting his third hit of the night, 2RBI double, sealing the game at 9-3.
Lala in the 8th puts the cherry on the cake with the 10th run of the game with a BL single. Got to BL with DC getting hit by pitch to open the inning, CDC singling and CJ, PH for Toral, walking.
After Federman and Toral single handedly let Tech back into the game, Spencer Bodanza and Carson Palmquest made sure it went no further. By the 9th, the game was out of reach 10-3 especially when you see Carson taking to the mound. Carson only needed 11 pitches striking out two to tie the series at one.
Offensively, the Giant has arisen, at least for the night. Overall batting was .425 compared to .212 from last night. The difference being in hitting LH vs RH pitching. Everyone hit and 7 of the 9 starter having multiple hits. Only ones with single digits were DC and Toral. The rest with two hits and Tony receiving top honors going 3-5 (double,3RBI). DC only hit was a 2 RBI double. The other 15 hits were singles.
Pitching, as Gino stated starts on the mound. Jake gave another excellent start with great backup coming from Bodanza and Palmquest. Still looking for that third starter considering Garland puts in a good showing. Did not get off to a good start last Sunday only lasting 2 innings. We can not survive on one starter getting us to 5 innings but we have not seen any candidates willing to come front and center. Bodanza is good for one and possibly stretching to two inning. Wanger is just returning, and McFarlane, Dubberly, Mederos, Federman been given the opportunity, failed to produce. We definitely have a closer, but 8 innings is a long wait and he has to be able to have the opportunity to seal the game for a victory.
Tomorrow, it starts on the mound with Jake Garland. You know Ga Tech will come out hungry looking for revenge from tonight’s embarrassment. Jake has to be on his A game and our Sleeping Giant need not go back to sleep after the showing tonight. There are hits still to be made and runs to score.