When Carl Chester comes off the bench and hits a solo home run in the ninth inning and it is a meaningless statistic and then Bryan Garcia comes out of the bullpen with an 18-run lead in the ninth inning just to get some work in, you know that the game is slightly out of hand.
That is exactly what happened as the Miami Hurricanes (47-15) defeated the Columbia Lions (34-17) 21-3 and brought the Ivy League champions' season to a close. Miami will move on in the NCAA Tournament and face Virginia Commonwealth this weekend in the Super Regional round. The winner of the best of three series will advance to Omaha for the College World Series.
After Miami was held to two hits on Sunday night by freshman Bryce Barr, the Hurricanes bombarded starter Mike Weisman and sent him packing after one inning and a 4-0 deficit. Miami pounded out 20 hits and was led by Willie Abreu who went 3-for-4 and had 5 RBI including a three-run home run.
Brandon Lopez continued having a hot tournament as he went 3-for-6 with 2 RBI, while the middle of Miami's order Zack Collins, David Thompson and Garrett Kennedy each had two RBI a piece to lead the Canes to victory. Monday's game proved that for Miami to be successful, they need to have the middle of the order get on base.
Christopher Barr also had three RBI for Miami. Twelve of the 13 hitters that UM sent to the plate got at least one hit and every starter had at least one hit by the fifth inning.
Miami scored their runs in bunches. They had four in the first to take a commanding, early lead. They put the game away in the fourth when they scored eight runs and held a 14-0 advantage.
"I felt it was important to get ahead early. Get a run. two runs, get this going and it might take some pressure off of our hitters," MIami coach Jim Morris said. "They responded, got a lot of runs today. A lot of guys swung the bat well."
In the fourth inning, Abreu hit his first triple of the season into the corner in right field that scored Lopez and Thompson. Collins also had a double that scored George Iskenderian and Ricky Eusebio beforehand.
"We were able to come out tonight, after last night," Abreu said after the game. "Obviously it showed today that we have the firepower, the team unity and everything,"
Morris said after the game that he wants to be able to close the gates again for the Super Regionals and wants to have a true home field advantage given the fact that VCU plays well on the road by virtue of the fact that they beat Dallas Baptist, who was ranked No. 1 in the RPI standings for most of the season, on their home field.
Danny Garcia, meanwhile, gave the Canes exactly what they needed. He gave them six strong innings, enough to get to the bullpen to piece together the rest of the game while the rest of the starters sat and hopefully waited for next weekend.
"Danny Garcia pitched a great game," Morris said. "It's tough because you sit so much between innings scoring so many runs."
Columbia goes home, with respect from the Miami faithful as they played the Canes well on Sunday, but ran out of steam on Monday. On the 90th anniversary of Columbia graduate Lou Gehrig starting his Ironman streak, the Lions season came to an abrupt halt.
"Tonight's game, obviously we were running low on pitching, no doubt about it," said Lions coach Brett Boretti. "Going into the game we had guys on short rest that were available, but we weren't going to put anyone in harm's way. You give all the credit to Miami for coming out and swinging the bats early and often."
As of 4 pm, the Lions still would not announce who their starting pitcher would be.
The Coral Gables Regional All-Tournament Team, as voted on by the media, is as follows:
Catcher: Logan Boyher, Columbia
First Base: Nick Maguire, Columbia
Second Base: Will Savage, Columbia
Third Base: David Thompson, Miami
Shortstop: Brandon Lopez, Miami
Outfield: Ricky Eusebio, Miami
Outfield: Garrett Brooks, East Carolina
Outfield: Willie Abreu, Miami
Designated Hitter: Austin Rodriguez, FIU
Pitcher: Andy Suarez, Miami
Pitcher: Bryce Barr, Columbia
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER: David Thompson, Miami