Miami Bullpen falters, LIU’s late-game heroics shock Hurricanes, 4-2

Freshman infielder Daniel Cuvet jogs past first base in the bottom of the fifth inning during Miami's game against Long Island University on Friday, Feb. 23 at Mark Light Field. Photo credit: Lexy Ward

In the top of the 9th, Long Island University’s (LIU) redshirt freshman Noah Sorenson stepped up to the plate in a 2-2 ballgame. Miami brought out closer Drew Dwyer with hopes of holding the Sharks’ offense at bay.

On the second pitch of the at-bat, Sorenson smashed a solo shot deep into the night, allowing LIU to take their first lead of the evening and silencing the home crowd at Mark Light Field. The infielder’s first hit of the season would be enough for LIU to steal victory from the Hurricanes, 4-2.

Miami’s bullpen struggled to back up another solid outing from Rafe Schlesinger. After freshman reliever Nick Roberts tossed a perfect four outs, Chris Scinta and Drew Dwyer faltered, allowing the game-tying and go-ahead home runs that led the way for LIU’s comeback victory.

Manager J.D. Arteaga named Dwyer UM’s closer before the start of the season, replacing two-time All-American honor Andrew Walters, who was drafted by the Cleveland Guardians in the second round last July. While trying to fill the role of the longtime reliever in Walters, Arteaga is relying on Dwyer to be Miami’s highest-leverage reliever.

LIU’s pitching staff, however, was dominant, stifling the Miami offense from start to finish. Relievers P.J. Moritz, Matt Galli, and Jack VanDoran held UM to no runs and three hits in four innings. VanDoran sealed the deal for the Sharks, forcing Miami’s Antonio Jimenez into a shallow pop-up to second to end the game.

Neither team was able to get much going offensively in what was a pitcher’s duel between both starters. UM’s Rafe Schlesinger toed the slab at the Light and shined, tossing six innings, striking out seven batters, and only allowing one unearned run.

The Long Island native’s only hiccup was in the fourth inning, where he misfired on a pick-off attempt to second that, if thrown on target, would surely end the inning. Instead, the lefty sent the ball into center field, allowing the LIU runner to score from the second, tying the game at one.

Miami’s source of offense came from two familiar faces, Daniel Cuvet and Jason Torres. Cuvet started the game with a bang, smacking his fourth home run of the season over the right-field wall to get the scoring going. Torres scored UM’s second and last run, lacing an RBI single into right field.

Cuvet, a freshman, has been the ‘Canes best hitter so far this season, with opponents now taking notice.

After hitting his second home run in as many games, the LIU pitching staff had no interest in facing him late in the game. Tied at two in the eighth, with a runner on second and two outs, the away side intentionally walked Cuvet, opting to face Lorenzo Carrier. The Sharks’ decision panned out perfectly, as the redshirt sophomore popped out to center field.

Miami looks to win the series against LIU in the rubber match game Sunday at Mark Light Field. Miami-Dade transfer Herrick Hernandez is slated to get the start for the Hurricanes. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.