Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
After coming off a very disappointing loss Friday night, the one positive that the Canes came away with the strong finish in the 9th coming away with 5 runs. As Gino stated after the game, “this set the tone for the rest of the weekend”. The shift in hitting ignited the spark for game 2 which the offense clearly dominated alongside the quality pitching needed that was lacking on Friday night. The 11-2 trouncing set up the rubber match for today. A last-minute change in the lineup had Alex McFarlane starting instead of Jake Garland with no explanation given. Alex came off a 4-day rest having started on Tues against FIU and threw 60 pitches for 4 innings. The adage “it starts on the mound” had all 3230 questioning how long would Alex be able to remain or would he experience a similar start that he had Tues where control and two runs had our backs to the wall. It was time to hit the reset button. Alex came out strong for the first 3 innings taking down the first 10 of 12 batters faced. Fatigue started taking over in the 3rd. Fortunately, Miami’s slow start, kick-started in the 4th and it became “Monkey See, Monkey Do”. The offense re-energized go on a terror tear scoring in each inning with a crooked number, except for the 5th and culminating with a single digit in the 8th. Nine unanswered runs, as the BP perform brilliantly not allowing a run or hit in relief. The spark-generated Friday night’s 9th inning blazed for the remainder of the weekend combusting into an 11-2 and 12-2 series finale.With a RH pitcher for Boston, Gino went heavy with 7 LH in the lineup. Yoyo and Jacob batting 3rd and 5th being the only right-handed batters. CJ was back in the top spot leading off followed by Edgardo Villegas, Miami’s newest secret weapon. Coming out of nowhere, providing key hits when most needed throughout the entire series. He might have solidified taking over LF. Yoyo and Max in their usual 3,4 slot. Jacob moved to batting 5th with Dorian at 6th and Mike Rosario back as DH batting 7th. Renzo Gonzalez gets his chance batting 8th in right. Closing, who has been the spark for the entire series Dominic Pitelli. Started this week batting .250 and exiting today batting .309 adding 8 more RBIs to the 5 that he entered the FIU game with.
Season low of .215, he has definitely turned his hitting around reflecting more like how he was on opening night when he went 4-4 with 4 RBIs. Matching his hitting has been his usual outstanding defensive play. Alex McFarlane gets a late change starting call to pitch in lieu of the scheduled Jake Garland.Neither team was productive through the first three innings.
Alex started showing signs of tiring in the third giving up a lead-off single, first hit of the game, SAC him to second, recording a K WP advancing runner to 3rd before winning a duel with Cameron Leary striking him out.Boston would be the first on the board coming in the 4th inning. One out walk, followed by back-to-back singles. PB advanced runners to 2nd and 3rd and Alex showed signs of tiring. Still had enough in the tank to strike out the next two.Whether this was Miami’s wake-up call, but break time was over and it was time to get to work. Work it was with answering with 3 runs in the bottom half of the inning Burke opened with a single, extending his reaching base to 15 consecutive games. Rosario singles after Dorian FO to left putting runners on 1st and 2nd. Renzo walks to load the bases bringing to the plate Dominic. Doubles up the middle, extending hitting streak to 8 consecutive games and on-base to 13 games.
Brings in two giving Miami the lead which they would not relinquish. Bit of insurance CJ grounds out to first bringing in Renzo to give Miami a 3-1 lead.Things could have gotten hairy in the 5th with Boston trying to answer leading off with a single. If not for a shoestring catch by Yoyo taken off his left foot doubling up the runner at first we would be looking at a tie. The next batter, Cameron Leary hits his 3rd HR of the series to bring Boston to within one rather than tied at 3.
Final out recorded for the 5th brought Alex’s day to an end. From that point on it was the solid pitching performance from the BP and the explosiveness of the bats that made this from a game to a rout.Nine unanswered runs with a set of 4 in the 6th and 7th with a topping of one in the 8th.For Boston, it was pitching by the numbers from the 4th inning on going with 6 pitchers from the BP in hope that Miami hitters could get in rhythm seeing a pitcher for the second time around. The twelve runs put on the board was a testament that this theory did not work. The 4 in the 6th came from a depleted Boston BP opening with a pair of walks (Dorian,Rosario). Renzo reaches 1B on a SAC E5 to load the bases for Dominic looking at BL for the second time.
Dominic treads the needle between 1st and 2nd for the start of a string of 4 runs. Top of the order,CJ SF to left for the second run and Edgardo for his second double in two games brings to total to 4 runs and extending the lead to 7-2.No slacking off by the offense in the 7th with another 4. Burke leads off with a single to left and steals second. Dorian continues his hitting streak to 8 games with an RBI single to left. Rosario strikes out and Long PH for Renzo singles, putting runners on the corners and once again Dominic comes to the plate. Change of pitchers. Domonic hits into a perfect DP but a late call by the ump negates the DP calling the pitch a balk bringing in the second run. Dominic gets a second bite of the apple and ends up walking.
Back to the top and CJ brings in run #3 with a single to RC. Runners of the corner Edgardo hits a skyscraper of a shot to right and the only for the fact for the wind blowing as hard as it was kept the ball in the park. Had to settle for a long, long SF for the 4th run of the inning. Last two innings, 8 unanswered runs.Icing on the cake came in the 8th with Zach Levenson, PH for Rosario, completes today’s scoring with an RBI double to LC bringing home Carrier who walked earlier. A decisive 12-2 victory and first ACC series win of the season.Offensively, 10 hits for a collective 35 hits this series combine for a total outpouring of 34 runs over the course of 3 days. No HRs today but 3 of the 10 hit were for doubles:Villegas,Levenson,Pitelli. Two with multiple numbers: Burke 2-4; Pitelli 2-3(double,3RBI).Two others credited with a trio of RBIs: CJ,Villegas.For the second game, the defense played flawlessly. Next week will be a true test on where we stack up with a midweek game at UCF on Wednesday and a weekend series with Clemson at Clemson.
Clemson had a perfect season 14-0 before losing today against Northeastern 5-3. It doesn’t get any easier after that in the ACC with NC, Duke, and Virginia following for the weekend series.