Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

The streak ends at 3 games as The Knights of UCF hands the Canes their first loss of the season. The Cane’s bats came back down to reality from a 35-run, 30-hit Saturday to scraping by on 3 runs on just 7 hits; only 2 hits coming after the 3rd inning. The game of baseball is a game of inches and Miami came that close to getting their second Mark Light Miracle. Runners on first and third, one out Daniel Cuvet at bat.

JD did a bit of position shuffling with the infield for tonight’s game. Playing second rather than Dorian Gonzalez or even Blake Cyr, who had the night off (unknown reason), JD Urso moved from short to second. Starting at short for his second time Antonio Jimenez with Dorian at third. Ben Chestnutt on the hill.

Canes started strong picking up where they left off on Saturday with a pair of runs in the first. Opening walk to Edgardo Villegas set the stage for the first run. Another walk to Daniel Cuvet with one out had runners on first and second. Another out was recorded before Dorian Gonzalez singles to right center on the first pitch with the first score. One batter later Carlos Perez adds to the score with an infield single to third and the Canes take an early 2-0 lead.

For the first two innings Chestnutt, which JD I believe keeping on a short leash based on history, managed to get through on only 35 pitches with just one hit and two strikeouts. In the third inning, the leash got a bit tighter with back-to-back hits (single,double) with one out. SF to right put the Knights on the board. The Canes answered back with one of their own on an opening single by Daniel Covet followed by an RBI double to center by Lorenzo Carrier.

The leash became taunt in the 4th inning and at 65 pitches JD pulled Ben for Myles Caba making his second appearance missing last year with Tommy John’s surgery. Ben opened the inning with a lead-off single followed by a strikeout and a walk. What should have been a DP (ball deflected off of Ben’s glove) turned into an infield single to load the bases. Ben handled the pressure striking out the next batter. JD for whatever reason decided to make the call to the BP and brought in Myles, LH pitcher, for the matchup. With the change of pitchers, UCF decides on a PH to counter the pitching change. The first pitch is wild bringing in a run and then proceeds to walk the PH to reload the bases. With a full count, it appeared that Myles was going to walk away with a single run scored with a fly ball to left. Carrier not getting a good line on the ball and not the fleetest of foot, the ball drops in scoring two which turned out the last of runs scored by either side. 

Jordan Vargas came in the 5th  and pitched 4 scoreless innings which should have been no-hit ball. In the 8th inning, a routine high popup just to the left of the pitching mound had the infield converging on the ball and no one decided to call for it and the ball fell between all of them. Not that it matters, but fortunately nothing resulted in this mental FUBAR.

From the 3rd inning, Miami was only able to scrounge up just two hits with the offense completely shutting down. In the 7th, they had the opportunity to put runs on the board after a litany of miscues (E6,PB,WP)) setting up BL with two outs. Lucas Costello coming into tonight’s game batting .444 with one HR walks up to the plate. Takes the count to 1-1 and connects only to see his line drive fall into the glove in center ending a chance to tie the score or go ahead. 

Miami with their last chance to perform a bit of Mark Light Magic comes into the 9th trailing by one. Edgardo reaches first on a drop third strike, followed by Costello’s single to right-center putting runners on the corners one out with Daniel Covet stepping to the plate. As mentioned in the opening paragraph, baseball is a game of inches. Such was the case in hand. Daniel hits a liner down the RF line passed the first baseman only to see the ball fall foul by the narrowest of margin. The ball rolled into the Right hand corner which would have scored two and put a W on the board. Instead two pitches later a 6-3 DP ending the game.

Offensively, it was a night off with the first true test of formidable pitching. It would have been nice to have Blake in the lineup but such was not the case for whatever reason. Not being able to get beyond two hits after the weekend of hits coming from every direction is criminal. The wind was a major factor which affected the Knights as well. Our offense only managed to bat a faction over the Mendoza Line (.206) compared to .410 and .378 on Saturday’s DH. No one with multiple hits and only two of the seven hits for extra bases (Lorenzo Carrier, JD Urso)

Pitching-wise the Starting call should have gone to Jordan Vargas rather than Ben Chestnutt. Hopefully, JD comes to the same conclusion as with our Friday night starter. You can’t have a starter who will only give you 3 or 4 inning which is all Ben can provide, if that. Vargas only a freshman, tonight showed that he could handle the mid-week call and take us deeper than anyone else in the BP. Jordan gave us a solid 4 innings of one-hit ball, throwing 49 pitches. Chestnutt got the call because of being there before, but realistically time and time again has shown he doesn’t deserve to be there any longer. How much more time is it going to take before this registers?

Friday should be another series like New Jersey with Long Island visiting. The offense should rebound and we should see another display of quality pitching. My concern is that it will be the same rotation one more time. I would rather see Gage move to Sunday but I will probably have to wait one more week, like Chestnutt, to see this move occurring.

If you want to see the ball once again leaving the park with multi-digit hitting join the excitement Friday night at 7PM.


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