Miami Hurricanes overwhelm Maine to begin CWS journey

Miami Hurricanes Maine CWS

Miami, Florida –With great pitching backed by three home runs the Miami Hurricanes drubbed Maine 9-1 in an ideal start to their CWS quest. Gage Ziehl was locked in tossing six very strong innings of one-run (unearned) ball scattering four hits and punching out seven. Ziehl also hit the centennial mark recording his 100th strikeout of the season. The Hurricanes jumped on Colin Fitzgerald knocking him out in the second frame after tagging the right-handed sophomore for seven runs.

Edgardo Villegas, Yohandy Morales, and Zach Levenson all went yard in tonight’s opener. Seven of Miami’s nine scores were achieved via the long ball. The Canes will face Texas tomorrow evening in the second game of Saturday’s twin bill. Maine and Louisiana play at noon in the elimination game.

Pouring it on

The first frame saw a strong showing both on the mound and at the plate. Ziehl struck out the side while Villegas pummeled the ball to right-center for the two-run dinger. Miami kept on attacking in the second rattling off five runs. An RBI double from CJ Kayfus and a run-scoring single from Villegas eventually led to Yoyo blasting a three-run bomb, his 17th home run of the season, to give the Hurricanes a commanding 7-0 lead. His towering homer chased off Fitzgerald forcing the Black Bears to call in reliever Noah Lewis.

Ziehl recorded his 100th K during the third inning on Colin Plante’s whiff. Maine got on the board at the top of the fourth. Carlos Perez’s pickoff attempt at third went awry resulting in a throwing error allowing Quinn McDaniel, who led off with a double to left field, to cross the plate. It proved to be their only run.

Levenson lifted his 14th round-tripper of the season after the seventh-inning stretch to make it 9-1 UM. Once Ziehl’s outing was over, Alejandro Rosario, Ben Chestnutt, and Sebastian Perez contributed with clean, drama-free innings.

Impressions

Miami’s patience at the plate wore down Fitzgerald whose pitch count was at 45 by the time he departed. Gage, meanwhile,  pounded the strike zone mowing down hitters showing complete command. Yohandy kept on being impressive. Not only did he go yard but showed his acute defensive acumen by making a great catch in foul territory during the fourth backing up his teammate. It robbed Jeremiah Jenkins of another chance in his at-bat. Some found it surprising Rosario was put in with a six-run lead in the seventh. I found it to be a prudent move to give an arm with an ERA north of 7.00 a bit of a confidence builder in a low-leverage mop-up situation.

Lastly, UM did what it needed to do, placing itself in an excellent position for tomorrow. Coach Gino DiMare already announced Karson Ligon is the starter. Although he is on a pitch count, Ligon’s return is good news. The best part about all this is everyone’s available. None of the relievers were taxed and even Ziehl has a chance to return during the regional. Now that the Miami Hurricanes defeated Maine to start the CWS, bring on the Longhorns.

📸Credit: Canes Baseball

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