Zach Levenson walks it off with three-run homer in rain soaked win

Zach Levenson walk off

Miami, Florida – Down to their last breath, Zach Levenson lifted the Miami Hurricanes in walk-off fashion beating FIU 6-5 stamping an exclamation point to a wet and wild mid-weeker. After Andrew Walters faltered in the eighth giving up the go-ahead two-run single to Dante Girardi, UM quickly found themselves down to the last out. Carlos Perez struck out swinging and CJ Kayfus popped to center field before Edgardo Villegas drew the critical walk.

Yohandy Morales, who was 0-for-3 on the night with two strikeouts, singled up the middle putting the tying run aboard. Levenson positioned the barrel on the 2-1 pitch smashing the ball over the left field fence and into the darkness for the dramatic come-from-behind victory. Kayfus tied it in the seventh with a home run of his own in the lead-up to the late-game heroics, boosting an otherwise anemic offense that didn’t record a hit since the third inning. The game endured an over hour-long rain delay with the first pitch pushed back to 7:16 PM. The steady showers persisted intermittently until the late innings.

The win snaps a three-game losing streak stemming from the disastrous road trip against No. 2 Wake Forest.  UM had a horrendous weekend getting outscored 19-2 resulting in a sweep. They will now host Florida State in their latest home stint.

Quiet hitting

Florida International opened the scoring in the third via a solo shot to right field from catcher Brendan Roney also scratching the team’s first hit. Miami quickly responded. Levenson knocked a two-out RBI single to left field scoring Kayfus to tie the game.

Alec Sanchez was the next Panther to homer in the fourth, hitting a no-doubter to right-center helping his team retake the lead, and knocking out starting pitcher Alejandro Torres. Sanchez kept himself busy at center field robbing the Canes of a potential home run the same inning making a great catch at the wall. He was at it again in the seventh, hitting an RBI single to left field plating Girardi for the 3-1 lead.

Hitless since the third, the Hurricanes ended the dry spell with an explosive two-run dinger from Kayfus off Orlando Hernandez. Hernandez was cruising up until that point retiring seven batters in a row. Once more, the blue and gold darted ahead thanks to a timely two-run single.

With two on and two gone in the eighth, coach Gino DiMare called on his lights-out closer to preserve the score. Girardi won the duel making it 5-3 FIU. Like their namesake, The U stormed back to win it with the Zach Levenson walk-off.

Impressions

Torres didn’t have a bad outing. In nearly four innings of work, he only allowed two hits striking out four. Both happened to be long balls. Out of 58 pitches thrown, 39 were strikes. Besides the homers, it was a decent appearance. The bats better snap out of their funk because they’re in for a rough weekend versus FSU if they don’t. Prior to the seventh-inning stretch, the offense was horrendous. The top five hitters of the lineup went a combined  5-for-19 (.263). From the sixth spot down there was only one hit which was from Dario Gomez.

The team had two opportunities to score prior to the third inning. Levenson popped out in the first stranding Yoyo at second who advanced on a throwing error from a pickoff attempt. Jack Scanlon struck out in the next inning stranding runners at the corners. They came back, sure, but in close matchups like these, you need to make the most of scenarios where the opportunities are slim.

The pickoff attempt by catcher Carlos Perez in the eighth was a terrible decision. Especially with Walters on the mound.  I also wonder what was the thought process when coach DiMare tapped Chris Scinta to replace Ben Chestnutt in the seventh. Girardi singled, advancing to second on a throwing error from the shortstop Dominic Pitelli. Chestnutt was at 33 pitches, 23 of them strikes. Either he was on a pitch count of sorts or it was a question of lefty-righty matchups at the plate. Regardless, thanks to the Zach Levenson walk-off, this is one heck of a win for the Hurricanes. They now lead 2-0 in the season series.

Gus Bus Award

No surprises here, take a bow, Levenson!

You’re Killing Me Smalls

In a late game where the score is tight and you got a very dependable reliever on the mound, Carlos Perez needs to be more locked in if he’s going to snap-throw a pickoff attempt.

Photo | Canes Baseball

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