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Canes, Sosa Blow Championship Opportunity Against Lions, Decisive Game To Decide Regional Title Monday Night

Enrique Sosa could not pitch past the fifth inning and once again had to be relieved early and the high-octane Miami offense was stuck in the clubhouse and never got uncorked as the top-seeded Canes lost 3-0 to Columbia and attained only two hits against a freshman pitcher that did not start since April 22. The loss forces a winner-take-all game at Mark Light at 7 p.m. on Monday night.

In a game that was awfully reminiscent of the two games that Miami lost last season to Texas Tech in the NCAA Regional, Miami lost to Columbia 3-0 Sunday night and forced themselves to play a decisive Game Seven Monday night in which they can either win and stay alive and host the Super Regional next weekend, or they can lose and yet again disappoint their fan base in post-season fashion.

Miami could not hit or pitch Sunday night as the offense generated two base hits and they emptied the cupboard of pitchers in relief of Enrique Sosa, who was lifted in the fourth inning after surrendering two runs. Sosa walked in the winning run on four pitches. Miami could never come back.

Columbia starter Bryce Barr (3-0) tossed 5.0 scoreless innings and surrendered just two hits, while fellow freshman Zack Bahm tossed 3.0 innings of clean relief.

After totaling 14 runs in their first two victories, the Hurricanes (46-15) managed just two hits Sunday night. The loss was just the fifth of the season for the Hurricanes inside Mark Light Field.

Miami right hander Enrique Sosa cruised through his first 4.0 innings, striking out seven batters while surrendering just one hit. But things unraveled in the top half of the fifth, when the first two Columbia batters reached via single and Sosa then hit Lions second baseman Will Savage with a pitch to load the bases.

"I felt in the beginning I was pounding the zone. I was throwing strikes," Sosa said. "At the end, I was just missing the zone. I couldn’t control my fastball. They did a pretty good job laying off of it."

Miami coach Jim Morris said all the right things after the game and was complimentary toward the Lions after the game, but one has to wonder what his thought process is as he faces a do or die game Monday night. Miami has the fifth national seed and to lose at home, twice to an Ivy League school would be extremely embarrassing to the school, the program and to him personally.

"First of all, we lost in every phase of the game tonight. Columbia came out and did a great job," Morris said. "Their pitchers threw strikes, got ahead of us and kept us off-balance all night. They played outstanding defense. They took advantage of a couple of mistakes to get runs there in that two spot. Bottom line: we were outplayed."

Columbia made the Sunday night game after defeating FIU earlier that day. It was not like Columbia was well rested. They played a double header on Sunday while Miami had the luxury of sleeping in and getting themselves ready to face an untested pitcher in Bruce Barr who has never been in this type of setting before.

"If you don’t have anybody on base, you can’t do much," Morris admitted after the game. "They didn’t walk guys and we just got a couple of hits. We did not hit the ball tonight hard at all. [Columbia’s] pitchers threw strikes. They did a good job and they played defense."

ACC batting champion George Iskenderian summed it up perfectly.

"Like Coach Morris said, he was keeping us off-balance, pitching backwards," Iskenderian said. "His change up was working well and had good depth to it. He did a good job of keeping us off balance and pounding the zone."

It has not been determined as to who will start on the mound for Miami Monday night as their main three starters pitched this weekend. Danny Garcia, their midweek starter pitched some in relief this weekend and he might be good to go.