In the post-game news conference, Miami coach Jim Morris had to play the role of matchmaker. He introduced Jacob Heyward to the world. He was better than match.com and way better than eharmony.com.
""That would be Mr. Heyward. Mr. Heyward," Morris said. "First of all, I want to congratulate Arkansas on their season. They did a great job every inning coming back and getting the lead-off guy on and for five straight innings they got the lead-off guy and kept answering him back. That's a credit to a good team. They kept battling. You could see why they won and why they're in the World Series. And did a great job there. But for us, you know, huge win. It's a huge win."
Heyward is the x factor in this World Series. Due to the fact that he did not start most of the season, most people around the country have no idea who he is.
"He's worked hard. And I'm sure Jacob will remember the day I called him in to talk to him because I was concerned because he's got the tools to be a good player," Heyward said. "He's got great genes. Everybody in his family does. Great family. And I called him in just to talk to him and make sure that he understood I still believed in him, to keep his head up because he wasn't playing."
Heyward had three RBI, including a walkoff single, to lead No. 5 Miami over Arkansas, 4-3, in an elimination game in the 2015 Men’s College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha.
With a tie game in the bottom of the ninth, Heyward drove a single into left center to score pinch runner Carl Chester from second and secure a Hurricane victory.
Miami (50-16) advances to face the loser of Florida-Virginia in an elimination game on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
"We're trying to win a ballgame. It would have been terrible if I struck out," Heyward said. "On second base with no outs and nothing happening. So they had a very good pitcher on the mound. To have a good at-bat put the barrel on the ball, glad it happened."
Heyward proved instrumental in all four of Miami’s runs. He broke the scoreless tie in the fifth inning with a two-run home run to left center. It was the first CWS home run between the 375-foot markers in the outfield at TD Ameritrade and the fifth of the 2015 Series.
"It's a blessing to be here at the College World Series with my teammates, and just playing hard for my teammates," Heyward said. "I wasn't playing the start of the year and I just appreciate Coach for having faith in me and all my teammates having faith in me just for the respect of me being a player. And I just wanted to do the best I could for my teammates. I felt they deserved that and we all know we worked hard all season and just had fun and played the game hard for my team."
In the seventh, Heyward singled and stole second. Ricky Eusebio hit a grounder to the shortstop, who overthrew third base and allowed Heyward to score.
It was a tight game that saw momentum shift back and forth several times. Until Heyward’s homer, neither team had had more than one baserunner in an inning.
Arkansas chipped away at Miami to tie the game at 3-3 in the eighth. The Razorbacks had a chance to take the lead in the top of the ninth when they loaded the bases on a single, an intentional walk and an error on the first baseman. But with two outs, Rick Nomura, who had three hits on the day, struck out to end the Hogs’ chances.
Arkansas scored its first run in the sixth. Tyler Spoon reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second and advanced to third on the catcher’s throwing error. Nomura’s infield single was enough to get Spoon home and cut the Canes’ lead in half.
Miami loaded the bases in its half of the sixth. The first two baserunners advanced to second and third on a pair of throwing errors on a pickoff attempt, and Garrett Kennedy walked to load the bases. But Brandon Lopez struck out to end the threat with no damage.
Arkansas tied the game at 2-2 with a two-out single in the seventh. Clark Eagan singled to lead off the inning, and Bobby Wernes drove him in four batters later.
After Miami went up 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Arkansas answered with another run in the eighth off three consecutive singles by Spoon, Nomura and Brett McAfee.
Closer Bryan Garcia (6-2) picked up the win for Miami in two-thirds an inning of work. Heyward finished 3-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and three RBI.
Tyler Spoon reached base for Arkansas three times on a hit, a fielder’s choice and an error, and came around to score twice. Zach Jackson (5-1) took the loss.
ESPN also cut away to shots of players wearing a rally monkey around their necks. It is unexplainable and no one can explain how that started, but the money is going to stick around.
"I honestly have no clue," starting pitcher Thomas Woodrey said. "That's something new we just started doing today, actually. I mean, he's 1 for 1, so I think we'll keep him around. We were supposed to bring him to the press conference but I think he was busy. He had interviews inside the locker room. We'll see if we can get him around here a little later, if you want to stick around."