The Hurricanes complete the series sweep in comeback fashion defeating Milwaukee 7-6 in a wild game on Sunday. Miami (7-0) needed a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth inning and some stellar defensive play throughout to take down Milwaukee (2-5), which was leading much of the game.
Milwaukee was able to score first in the top of the second inning when LF Jonathan Capasso hit a deep fly ball to the fence in left, LF Ricky Eusebio made an impressive catch crashing into the wall saving a sure double and affording Milwaukee just one run on the sacrifice fly. Eusebio, a freshman who was making the first start of his career, made another great play on the very next play. With a man on third base and two outs, Milwaukee RF Drew Pearson hit a sinking line drive that Eusebio was able to make a diving play on, ending the inning and saving a run.
The Canes were able to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth inning when 2B Alex Hernandez started a rally with a lead-off double to right. With the hit Hernandez extended his season opening hit streak to 7 games. First baseman David Thompson was able to drive home Hernandez from third base with a sacrifice fly, tying the game at 1-1. With the RBI Thompson now has 13 on the season and at least one in every game this season.
Things started to unravel in the top of the fifth inning for SP Andrew Suarez who struck out five and allowed three runs. Milwaukee was able to score a run after an RBI double by CF Luke Meeteer. On the next play Eusebio came up with another huge play, making a diving catch in left field and turning a potential extra base hit into another sacrifice fly. Suarez was able to escape the inning with a strikeout, with Milwaukee leading 3-1.
"We take pride in our defense here," said Eusebio. "Gino (DiMare) is always on us to make plays for our pitchers, that's what we try to do so I'm glad I made those plays."
Milwaukee was again able to score in the top of the sixth inning off RP Frank Grandinette who replaced Suarez, but strong defense by the Canes limited the Panthers to just one run in the inning. 2B Alex Hernandez made a pair of impressive plays resulting in two outs that kept the Panthers from having another big inning. Hernandez was able to make a play on a bloop single to shallow left field, corralling the ball and making a quick turn and throw to second base to beat the runner who had to hold at first base until the ball dropped. On the very next play Capasso grounded into what appeared to be an inning-ending double play, but SS Brandon Lopez made a poor throw and Hernandez was able to make a bare-handed grab to secure the out at second Base. Grandinette was able to escape the inning forcing the next batter to fly out to right field.
The Hurricanes were able to turn the game in their favor when they put together a five-run two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth inning. Miami had runners on first and second with Thompson coming to the plate. Thompson flew out to center, leaving the Canes with two outs.
3B Brad Fieger came up with the first big hit, an RBI double down the left field line. DH Michael Broad Followed with two-run single that scored Mack and Fieger, tying the game at 4-4. CF Dale Carey broke the tie with a two-run home run over the left field fence, capping the five-run inning with the Canes Leading 6-4.
"I saw him pitch to Broad and he doubled up on sliders," Said Carey. "When I first went up there I saw him throw the first slider to me, so I was like he's going to double up on it and I was sitting on slider for the rest of the at bat... I saw the slider again and sat on it and did a good job of hitting it, putting it in play."
Miami was able to add one more run in the bottom of the 7th inning on a Chantz Mack sacrifice fly, which proved to be the game-winning run.
"I'm proud of our guys that came back after they got down," said coach Jim Morris. "In the sixth inning we scored five runs with two outs - I think that shows a lot of character. Sometimes the pressure's on and they were able to get it done."
RP Erick Nedeljkovic replaced Grandinette in the 7th and went to pitch 2 scoreless innings, striking out four in the process. Coach Jim Morris turned to closer AJ Salcines, who struggled in the 9th. After allowing a run, Salcines loaded the bases by hitting a batter and putting the go-ahead runner on first base with no outs. He was able to force the Panthers into two consecutive fly outs, the second of which resulted in a run on a sacrifice fly, leaving the Canes with a 7-6 lead. With two outs and the tying runner on third base Salcines was able to force a ground ball to SS Brandon Lopez who took the easy out at second base to end the game.
Salcines picked up his first save of the season and Grandinette was credited with his first win of the season. The Hurricanes take on Saint Thomas Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in Coral Gables.