Mike Kaffee

Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
[email protected]

Virginia salvages the final game, avoiding the sweep with a rally in the 9th to take game 3. Despite 11 runs on 13 hits, overcoming a 4-run deficit twice, BL on 4 separate occasions there would not be another Mark Light Magical Moment as the Virginia offense was just too much for the Miami pitching to keep them contained. Starter Herick Hernandez ran into a buzzsaw early which not only drove up his pitch count but seven runs as well. The BP was unable to send in the right pitcher to stop the onslaught of a determined Virginia team. Miami battled back twice from being down by 4, overcoming and taking the lead late in the game only to have 4 unanswered runs in the final two innings as the BP was unable to harness a determined Virginia offense. Miami had several opportunities to put the game out of reach but failed to get the key hit at the right time. The keys to today’s loss were 14 men left stranded on the base pads, striking out 12 times at very inopportune times, and pitching that was unable to contain their batters. We had to be flawless in all aspects of the game which today we weren’t. The Offense was there, the defense was not error-free costing 2 unearned runs, but the overwhelming cause was unacceptable pitching. Six times calls to the BP but no one was able to contain the firepower that Virginia brought to the plate. A hard-fought fight but came up short in the end.

Changes to the starting nine,, again at the bottom of the order. Jack Scanlon catching and batting 6th, Jacoby Long in center batting 7th, with Jake Kulikowski in right batting in the 8th position. Herick Hernandez got the starting call on the hump.

Miami had the first opportunity to strike in the first inning. Runners on first and second (Edgardo walk, Blake single) no outs. WP, Blake is slow to respond and is thrown out at second, Edgardo making it to third. Daniel strikes out and Dorian grounds out 1-3. Opportunity lost. Would not get a second chance until the 4th inning.

Virginia did not wait around attacking Herick in the second inning sending his pitch count from only needing 16 pitches to retire the sides in the first to 49 in the second. Virginia was aggressive at the plate and Herick not having control to overcome it. Two HP, one resulting in a run with BL and an RBI single that followed for two more runs. If not for the spectacular catch in right by Jake the initial 4 runs and early lead would have been more.

In the 4th through the 7th inning, we finally started to string hits together collecting all of our 11 runs. In the 4th, we cut the lead in half picking up two runs on Jake Kulikowski’s second double of the year. Scanlon had walked after Dorian and Torres had struck out to start the inning and Long followed with a single. 

As quickly as we put two on the board Virginia answered in the top of the 5th. Herick continued to have control problems hitting his third batter. Herick should have gotten out of the inning without a run scored, but a fielding error by Urso resulted in one run which ended the day for Hernandez and Virginia didn’t wait for Naturman to settle in adding the second unearned run with an RBI single. The error weighed heavy with the scoring until the very end of the game.

The lead back to 4, the Miami bats answered by batting around, opening with Edgardo’s triple to right center on the first pitch. Cyr is HP and Dorian gets three of the four runs back going right center 396 feet. 4th run with BL and Urso taking ball 4. At the halfway point the score tied at 6.

Not settling well for the Virginia hitters, they went quickly back to work in the 6th with back-to-back walks to open the inning, ending Naturman’s day. Olivera brought in and on his first pitch a 2RBI double, followed by Casey Saucke’s third HR of the year. For the second time today, the lead back to 4 runs separation.

Once again Miami had an answer coming back with two of their own. RBI double by Dorian scoring Cyr who had walked earlier and scoring on a WP after dancing to third on Torre’s single through the left side.

Miami was able to prevent Virginia from scoring in the 7th. Not so for the Canes with Costello opening with a HR traveling 349 feet. Urso walked setting up Blake going the distance, 353 feet, for his second HR in as many days. For the first time today, Miami takes the lead by the narrowest of margins 11-10. Thinking back to the 5th and the 2nd error it would have been 3 and might have changed how JD would have handled the final 2 innings.

Myles Caba who came in relief to finish the 7th opened the 8th and with the count 2-2 to Saucke, Casey found the sweet spot in right-center for his second HR of the game. This ties it at 11. 

Miami had the perfect opportunity to rebound and take the lead for the second time, but was unable to strike when the pickings were perfect. Torres opened with a single, and Long laid down the perfect bunt which resulted in the ball getting under the 3B glove. Costello walked to load the bases one out. Urso a chance to amend for his costly error back in the 5th strikes out. Back to the top of the order and Edgardo with a double today, takes the third strike looking leaving 3 stranded and opening the door for Virginia

Miami started with Walters lasting two batters (single,k) before switching to Scinta (matchup) for one batter before going with Robert to close. Robert came in with a man on third (SB,FO9). Not what one wants from a Closer that followed: swinging bunt single, walk, and the crusher: a two-RBI double which sealed it for Virginia with a 3-run 9th. 

Miami had one final chance and this would have to be Miracle Plus to pull this off. The Cane had the opportunity to do just that. A walk to Cuvet, and and pair of singles to Dorian and Goytia ( came in for Perez-injured). BL and Jacoby Long to bat. 3-4 for the day (singles) and everyone hoping for a repeat of Blake’s Grand Slam from Saturday night. Hard grounder to third and Hanson outruns Dorian to third for the final out crushing the dream of a GS and a sweep of the 13th-rank Virginia team.

Offensively another big day with the bats, mostly coming in the middle innings where we were able to string hits together. Three players with multiple hits: Blake Cyr 2-4 (HR,2RBIs),Jason Torres 3-6, Dorian Gonzalez 3-6(double,HR,4RBIs), Jacoby Long 3-5). Additionally: doubles: Dorian, Jake Kulikowski; triple: Edgardo; HRs: Cyr, Dorian, Costello. The bats were hot, batting 366. except when it came to BL 0-4. The negative 0-4 with BL along with 12 strikeouts. The team batted .366  but as did Virginia .378

Defensively, the same old story. No shortstop. Whoever we put there the results are the same: costly errors. JD can at least hit or put the ball in play but his arm is weak. Jimenez is batting below the Mendoza line. Time to look elsewhere. Eric Fernandez is one choice. Someone mentioned moving Costello to second (supposedly has played the position) and moving Dorian to second. This way you keep his bat and utilize Kulikowsk in right. Desperate times need desperate measures. Right now fielding wise Urso and Jimenez are doing more harm than good.

Pitching appears to be our Achilles Heel as forecasted from the preseason. No mid-week starter, the Closer very inexperienced, and BP never knowing what to expect. The schedule is not going to get any easier.

A mid-week game away in Boca Tuesday night at 630PM before returning for a weekend series with NC who swept Pitt this weekend. We need to be at our very best. First pitch: Friday 7PM 


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