Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

The Cardiac Kids rallied late for the second straight game to take the ACC opener against 13th-ranked Virginia. In yet another heart-stopper of a game, a dormant offense that struggled through the first 5 innings of one-hit ball finally comes alive in the 6th with three runs to draw within one. The 7th had all the drama one could ask for in a game and was taken from a Hollywood script. Miami is now trailing by two after Virginia responded with one in the top half of the 7th to load the bases with no outs. Heartstopper and despair watching a DP only to be followed by jubilation in a complete turn of events as Daniel Cuvet takes a 1-1 pitch and sends it over the scoreboard 379 feet for his biggest hit so far this season but more importantly, giving Miami the lead for the first time tonight. Nick Robert added to the suspense as Virginia rallies back having a man on third one out in the 9th. Everyone was holding their breath not knowing what direction the game was heading. Could Miami hold out for the final two outs or possibly be looking at extra innings or dropping a heartbreaker after coming back 4 down late in the game?

Changes to the lineup with Dorian and Jason switching having Dorian batting 4th. Jack Scanlon moved up to bat 7th and Antonio Jimenez returned to SS duties batting 9th. Blake was the DH for tonight’s contest batting 2nd.

Gage Ziehl once again gets the Friday night starting call on the mound. Sounding like a broken record but I feel you need the best to pitch on Friday and Gage is not the one. Another rough start building his pitch count early to 57  after just three innings and 3 runs on the board it looked like an early departure. Fought back lasting 5.2 innings but gave up 4 runs on 7 hits. Sorry, but not what one expects from supposedly your best starter. Would feel more comfortable as our Sunday starter. The other position that needs closer scrutiny is shortstop. Both Jimenez and Urso are definitely having difficulty fielding the position. Tonight, Antonio had another multiple-error game. Batting below the Mendoza line his bat has yet to compensate for his marginal fielding. JD has been the better with the bat, but his arm strength is not the best, and also error-prone. The only alternative is possibly to look at untested Eric Fernandez to see what he can bring to the position. 

Things started to get ugly with Virginia’s first batter. Routine grounder to short and just like that Jimenez commits his first of two errors for the night. If not for a brilliant catch by Kulikowski in right, Virginia might have had an early score. The saving catch in right held Virginia off one inning as they put two on the board in the second via the HR. They continued to hit Gage hard with a following double. A strikeout and two hard-hit balls to the OF for outs prevented further damage.

In the third inning, the pitch count continued to rise to 57 with a lead-off double and walk. What would have been a 1-6 DP turned into an E6 (his second) on the throw to first scoring the third run.

Three unanswered runs as the silence of the bats continued for the Canes striking out 7 times and not getting their first hit until the 5th inning. 

A one-out single by Lucas Costello who made it to second on a WP but left stranded. 

Virginia would add another run in the 6th charged to Ziehl after leaving the game with runners on the corners and Myles Caba relinquishing an RBI single. 4-0 bottom of the 6th, things were looking very bleak with Miami unable to swing a bat only having one hit. Virginia had to come to their rescue opening the bottom half of the 6th with a fielding error at second to start the inning. A crack in the dam can cause a flood which Miami takes advantage of. Blake Cyr follows with the Cane’s second hit. A walk to Dorian with one out loads the bases bringing Jason Torres to the plate. The restless fans just like that became fully alert as they expected to see something wonderful happen. Jason grounding out to first, not exactly what the fans wanted to see but at least the dam finally cracked and the Canes had their first run of the game. Jack Scanlon followed with runners on second and third, two outs. 1-1 pitch, Jack drills a line drive double to right center to make this into a ballgame narrowing the score to 4-3.

Brian Walters is brought in in the 7th relieving Myles Caba, man on first two outs. What followed was what the fans didn’t expect. After a great debut on Wednesday evening, lets the runner steal second uncontested, hits a batter, gives up an RBI double, and hits a second batter to load the bases which brought JD out of the dugout. Brandon Olivera brought in to get the final out which would be the only batter he would pitch to. This extended the lead to two (5-3)

The Canes are now awake from their evening siesta. Carrier,PH for Kulikowski, singles through the right side to open the bottom half of the 7th. Jimenez lays down a SAC and the throw to first is dropped putting runners on 1st and 2nd no-outs. Edgardo is HP to load the bases bringing Cyr to the plate. What was a disheartened crowd, now had everyone on the edge of their seats. A line drive to third had Carrier leaning too far off of third and gets doubled up. Pure disgust throughout the stands. Now with two outs, runners on 1st and 2nd Daniel Cuvet steps to the plate. Takes the count to 1-1 before delivering the sweetest shot clearing the scoreboard and changing the entire tide of the game from 5-3 to 6-5 in favor of the Cardiac Kids.

Miami failed to add to their score in the 8th doubling up with runners on first and second. The 13th-ranked Virginia team was not going to go down without a fight. They open the 9th with a lead-off single, WP sending the runner to second. 6-3 groundout had the tying run 90 feet away with one out. The infield is in. A dribble back to the pitcher had Torres not covering 1st and Dorian ran over from second to barely get the second out holding the runner at third. One out away and tension is throughout the park wondering what would happen next. Nick Robert dug in on the mound and delivered with a FO to right to end the game and Miami captured a come-from-behind victory 6-5

Offensively, another one of those days that without the long ball, it would have been another L on the board. For the second time in two games, we were only able to come up with just five hits. Fortunately, the HR was enough to change the L into a W. No one with multiple hits and the only other extra-base hit besides Cuvet’s HR was Scanlon’s 2RBI double. This game was a pure gift. If we play tomorrow like we did tonight, Virginia won’t let this get away from them. They are too good now 12-2. We have to start hitting and not making errors which are always costly. Tonight, Virginia let this get away from them. We may not be as fortunate tomorrow unless we start hitting. If it is only HRs, let it be. Tonight, we only batted .179 as a team. You don’t win ball games hitting like that.

Tomorrow’s game time has been moved up to 6PMbecause of the time change moving the clock ahead an hour. It should be a good one with Miami looking for its first ACC series win.


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