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Abrams Helps Give Miami Fans Long Waited Taste Of Victory, College World Series Awaits

On a day where Thomas Woodrey did not have his best stuff, the Canes relied on what got them this far. It was their Bullpen of Death that catapulted this team over the top and past Virginia Commonwealth. Miami, once again, was slow with the bats, but Sam Abrams and freshman All-American Michael Mediavilla combined to shut the door on the Rams before giving way to All-American closer Bryan Garcia who started to help the Canes pack for Omaha.

Jim Morris Discussing A Call With One of the Blue Man Group
Jim Morris Discussing A Call With One of the Blue Man Group
File Photo

Saturday afternoon was a day that a lot of University of Miami faithful have been waiting for. It is perhaps the biggest day that Coral Gables has seen since the phantom pass interference call against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl that robbed Miami's football team of a sixth national title.

The 10-3 victory over Virginia Commonwealth gave Miami a clean sweep over the Rams and clinched a berth in the mecca of college baseball. The Canes will be going to the NCAA College World Series in Omaha.

The Canes got to taste victory and a Super Regional Championship.  Miami has not punched their ticket to Omaha since 2008 and has not won a National Title since 2001. This win does not assure Miami of a National Title, but it keeps them alive and gives them a chance to take what could be their best team in a decade to the tournament and give the Canes faithful a reason to break out the pots and pans.

I have to give all of the props and all of the accolades to Sam Abrams, who I believe saved the season for the Hurricanes today, with four innings of shutout baseball and who told the Rams, "not in my house" when they had the bases loaded with no one out and he entered the game,

Abrams faced a good VCU lineup today that gave Thomas Woodrey problems in the early innings. Abrams also came in to the game in a rather unfavorable position. He had the bases loaded, no outs and all of the momentum was going the Rams' way. He got the first two batters to strike out and the third hit a fly ball to the outfield and the side was retired. He was bear hugged by Bryan Garcia on the dugout steps and that vision will remain with me throughout the world series.

VCU coach Shawn Stiffler, not to be confused with Steve Stiffler of the American Pie series, was very complimentary of Abrams and knew that when his team did not get the big inning when it had the chance, their chances of winning the game, became that much more slimmer.

"It sure was a turning point in the game. He did a fabulous job, and they did a great job of going to him in the right spot there," Stiffler said. "You just look at the bases loaded situation that we had, we scored nobody. With the bases loaded with nobody out situation that they had, they put up a five-spot. That’s the difference in winning and losing. The big inning in college baseball is how you win. They prevented the big inning and then we were unable to do that."

Outfielder Logan Farrar said that Abrams side-arm mechanics were different to look at, similar to that of Cooper Hammond, but that it did take the wind out of their sails.

"It hurts. Especially when you have no outs and you figure all you have to do is put a couple balls in play and you score a run," Farrar said. "So, for us to go out the way we did, I think it was tough for us to do that. Momentum was definitely on our side and I know once they got us with no runs the momentum did change."

Once again, as they have been all season long, the Miami builpen has been tremendous. They were ungracious hosts and did not surrender anything to the Rams, but feasted on Dallas Baptist pitching last week like it was Thanksgiving dinner. Michael Mediavilla, who was named a freshman All-American last week was sensational two days in a row. Garcia pitched a scoreless ninth for the second day in a row and is looking like his old self.

It is clear that former pitcher and current pitching coach J.D. Arteaga has made the most of his time with the bullpen staff and that he has gotten the players ready, both physically and mentally prepared to play. This is the best bullpen that Miami has had in the 30 years that I have been following the team. They do not give ice away in the winter.

I have to give a tip of the cap to Miami skipper Jim Morris. The win might also allow me to get rid of a bad taste that I have had in my mouth for a long time. Nothing could get rid of it.

I have had this grudge against Morris since 1996. I know, its a long time. Coach and I get along fine and we talk after all the games that I cover, but I have had something eating at me for a while. It goes back to the title game in Omaha in 1996.

Miami was playing Louisiana State for the national title on a Saturday afternoon. An unknown kid by the name of Warren Morris came up to the plate and was LSU's last hope. I was getting ready to break out the pots and pans, and then my baseball life took a turn for the worse.

Morris came up to the plate with one runner on base, and hit Miami relief pitcher Robbie Morrison's first pitch just inches over the right field fence. The walk-off home run won the game for the Tigers 9–8. It was his only home run of the season, and is the only walk-off championship-winning home run in College World Series history. In addition, it is the only 2-out, ninth inning, walk-off home run in a championship of any collegiate or professional level. The home run also won Morris the 1997 Showstopper of the Year ESPY award.

Miami had their closer in the bullpen, but Coach Morris opted to stay with Morrison and let him finish the game. I never understood the call. Still, to this day, I do not understand the decision. Maybe if Miami wins the national title this season, I will ask coach what he was thinking and at least get the answer to the question that has been haunting me forever.

Stay tuned to SOTU for much more coverage of UM's run in Omaha