Monday, June 2, 2008

Miami One Step Closer to CWS

The University of Miami baseball team has just one more hurdle to clear, #23-ranked Arizona, before it can stamp its ticket to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series. The Hurricanes, 50-8 on the season and ACC champions, defeated the Rebels of Ole’ Miss on Sunday 11-2 to cap off a sweep in the Coral Gables regional.

The Canes had arguably the toughest draw of the NCAA Tournament, especially in terms of pitching, and they had their hands full on Friday and Saturday nights as they defeated Bethune-Cookman and Missouri in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion. On Sunday, the storyline was different – Ryan Jackson, Jemile Weeks, Dennis Raben, Dave DiNatale, and Yasmani Grandal all fueled the Canes to a 7-2 lead by the end of the 3rd inning. Eric Erickson was back to his old form on Sunday, allowing just two earned runs and six hits with a walk in seven innings. Jackson was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Coral Gables regional – he went 6 for 11 with 2 HR and 4 RBI.

UM’s next task is to take down the Arizona Wildcats, and former UF coach Andy Lopez, in a best of three series to determine who will head to Omaha. The Wildcats are 41-17 on the year, and got to this point by winning the Ann Arbor regional. The Canes are surging at the right time, their confidence is high, their hitting is potent, and, most importantly, their pitching is looking up to the task for the first time in a long while. I predict that the Canes will dispose of Arizona in two games.

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