Pitt homers thrice dropping Hurricanes in season finale

Pitt Hurricanes Season Finale

πŸ“Έ Credit: Canes Baseball (X)


Miami, FL – Pitt powered its way to a 10-7 victory hitting three home runs and making sure the Miami Hurricanes came away with the L in the season finale. The Panthers were playing for one of the last spots in the ACC tournament alongside Notre Dame, knowing they earned a trip to Charlotte if they won. Pittsburgh broke the deadlock in the fourth thanks to Ryan Zuckerman going yard producing an early 2-0 edge. Miami rallied in the fifth scoring three runs on three hits knotting it up.

Pitt regained the lead with two big homers in the seventh and eighth, including a grand slam dagger from C.J. Funk. Miami tried to pull off some Mark Light magic one last time as Edgardo Villegas managed an RBI single, his only hit of the day. Team Rookie of the Year, home run champ, and Hurricane MVP Daniel Cuvet lifted one to left field on his last at-bat. Cuvet’s 21st home run brought the Miami Hurricanes to within three but the rally came up short. The freshman sensation completed the day going 2-for-4 with three RBIs, a run and a walk. Cuvet and JD Urso were the only players to have a multi-hit performance with Urso also homering in the seventh.

Miami used six pitchers including Chris Diaz who started. Diaz tossed three-and-a-third giving up two runs on four hits striking out four.

With UM losing the rubber match they finished the regular season 25-29 (11-19, ACC). The Canes were 19-16 at home, 6-13 on the road, and 6-6 during midweek games.

Last hurrah

Miami squandered a chance at taking an early lead on its first trip to the plate due to Carlos Perez grounding into a bases-loaded inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. The Canes did it again the following frame, this time with Urso stranding runners at the corners.

The Panthers ended up on the scoreboard first when Zuckerman blasted the two-run shot. This ended Diaz’s day as the Canes tapped Slaide Naturman in relief. Pitt struck again in the fifth with an RBI single from Luke Cantwell. UM responded that same inning with a three-run rally.

It began with an RBI single of their own courtesy of Urso knocking in Eric Fernandez. Miami cut into the lead further via the Villegas ground ball plating Antonio Jimenez. Cuvet knotted it up with a run-inducing base hit up the middle.

Momentum swung dramatically towards Pittsburgh in the seventh. With two on and nobody out, Jordan Vargas couldn’t make the catch off Jayden Melendez’s bunt that ultimately bounced into foul territory. The failure to make the play came back to bite them. Melendez took Vargas deep to left-center for the three-run dinger doubling up on the Hurricanes 6-3. For those unaware, Jayden Melendez is former FIU coach Mervyl Melendez’s son.

Urso lifted his fourth round-tripper of the year after the seventh-inning stretch making it 6-4. Whatever hopes the home crowd had were dashed when Funk smashed a grand slam putting the advantage firmly in Pitts’ grasp. Cuvet’s heroics although a morale booster were not enough.

Final Thoughts

I don’t know about you guys but the season went by too fast. Although It’s not the type of year the fans, coaching staff, or players wanted, I had a lot of fun covering the team. As coach J.D. Arteaga pointed out in the presser, there were several individual achievements. Gage pitched well and Cuvet was phenomenal. I’ll go more in-depth on the season itself in a near-future piece but when it came to the 2024 Miami Hurricanes, there were multiple issues plaguing the program. For the finale itself, Pitt just wanted it more. The Panthers were playing for a right to extend their season for a few more days. Miami punched their own ticket on Friday and was looking ahead to what lay in Charlotte.

It’s a real shame that UM won’t be hosting a regional. The way it looks it’s highly unlikely the Canes will even participate in one. They’ll have to win all four games in the ACC tournament to even get consideration from the committee. But it doesn’t mean they won’t give it their all and that’s what The U is all about.

Awards

Bob Werner Award, given to the player who most exemplifies the qualities of a winner and a good teammate: Brian Walters

2024 Home Run Champion: Daniel Cuvet

Arnold Novins Award for Fan Favorite: Dorian Gonzalez Jr.

2024 Rookie of the Year: Daniel Cuvet

Ron Fraser Award for best pitcher: Gage Ziehl

2024 Miami Hurricane MVP: Daniel Cuvet

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