The Consensus #1 Florida Gators Baseball team is good, very, very good. They have top level quality and depth at all positions and their pitching staff both starters and relievers are the equal of any staff in D-1......and our Miami Hurricanes took 2 of 3 from UF this past weekend.
The Gators are very likely a better team than the Canes right now although seeing the talent, poise and competitiveness of our three top Freshman pitchers, Victor Mederos, Alejandro Rosario and Carson Palmquist along with Freshman infielders Yohandy Morales, Dominic Pitelli and transfers Christian Del Castillo and Ben Wanger I would not bet against Miami being as good or better on Friday June 4 when the NCAA Regionals begin.
Game 1 on Friday afternoon deservedly went Florida’s way.
Inexcusably poor base running, two errors and lack of timely hitting put the Canes in a 7-1 hole and fighting back with a four run 9th and only getting the tying run to the plate left UM a little short in a 7-5 loss.
Canes only had six hits on Friday.
Notably all six came from newcomers, Yohandy Morales had two hits and scored twice. Christian Del Castillo had two as well including a two run double and three RBIs. Dominic Petelli also had two hits in his debut at shortstop.
Saturday’s 10-9 win was a doozy. Down 5-0 after one, 8-3 after six and 8-5 after eight, the Canes had a ninth inning three run rally the likes of which I doubt any of us has seen before and never will again.
Miami had six base runners, scored three runs to tie game 8-8 without any of the six taking the bat off their shoulder.
With one out, Anthony Villar , Adrian Del Castillo and Alex Toral all worked walks off Florida reliever Franco Aleman. Christian Del Castillo was then hit by a pitch scoring Villar and leaving the bases loaded. Canes pinch hitter Ben Wanger popped up for the second out before Tony Jenkins walked to drive in his third run of the day making it 8-7. Dominic Pitelli came up and the freshman came through with a well earned walk to tie it 8-8. Ben Specht came in to relieve Aleman and got a flyout ending Miami’s 9th.
Carson Palmquist came in to pitch the bottom of the 9th and got two strikeouts and a diving catch by Jordan Lala in left field to end the inning.Palmquist was exceptional giving up one hit and striking out four in three innings. Wanger shut down UF in the 12th and Miami broke through in the 13th when Raymond Gil with runners on first and second lined a shot through the right side driving in C. Del Castillo giving the Canes their first lead of the weekend.
Miami was gifted an insurance run when Kris Armstrong dropped an easy lob allowing Lala to reach base and Wanger to score making it 10-8 Miami.
Gators are relentless and never give in getting runners on first and second with one out and Kirby McMullen singled to center making it 10-9.
Wanger then struck out Jordan Butler and got Armstrong to pop out to CJ Kayfus at first base wrapping up his first win as a Cane and securing the victory for Miami.
Sunday’s rubber match was a team role reversal without the ninth inning. Miami scored three in the first, added one each in the second and third and three more in the 4th taking an 8-0 lead after 3 1/2.
Florida being very good and relentless clawed their way back in with one in the 4th, one in the 5th and two in each of the 6th and 7th cutting the Miami lead to two at 8-6 after seven.
Wanger came in to pitch the 8th and the Gators had first and third with one out before Kayfus at 1B snared a Thompson line drive and tagged Josh Rivera for an inning ending double play, the Canes third of the day.
Palmquist took the hill in the 9th and set the Gators down 1-2-3 for the game and series win.
Both Adrian (Del) Del Castillo and his older brother Christian (Delly) Del Castillo and two hits and two RBIs in the win.
Yohandy Morales added three hits Sunday. It must be noted that both our Freshman RHPs Alejandro Rosario who started on Saturday and Sunday’s starter Victor Mederos had excellent debuts in the most difficult circumstances a young arm can face. Those young men have futures.
On Monday the Collegiate Baseball Division 1 poll was released and the Hurricanes are #1 after the first weekend. On a final note, Christian Del Castillo was named ACC Player of the Week.’ Delly’ had 6 RBI, 4 hits and scored 2 runs over the weekend. Well deserved.
Congratulations to the entire Miami Baseball program especially after your 342 mile 5 hour plus bus trips back and forth. Go Canes!