Faced with an elimination game to save, or end, their season, the Miami Hurricanes lost to UC Santa Barbara 5-3 on Monday afternoon. The loss ends Miami's season at 50-14.
The game started out well for Miami. In the top of the first, All-American C Zack Collins got a fastball over the middle of the plate and promptly deposited it into the Right-Field stands, making the score 1-0 Miami before UCSB even had a chance to hit.
That, unfortunately, would be the only lead of the day for Miami.
UCSB manufactured a run in the bottom of the first, tying the game at one. After that, starting pitchers Danny Garcia for Miami and Noah Davis for UCSB engaged in a tight pitcher's duel for the better part of 6 innings.
Both Garcia and Davis had multiple situations with runners on base, but were able to escape them. Garcia even worked out of a bases-loaded, 1 out jam in the 2nd inning. The pitchers traded out after out, Davis retiring 7 in a row, and Garcia retiring 10 in a row at one point.
After a leadoff single for UCSB in the 6th, the teams were pulled off the field for a rain/lightning delay. The delay, which lasted 62 minutes, was enough to rob Danny Garcia of his momentum. After a double put runners on 2nd and 3rd just 2 batters after the delay, he was pulled for Freshman Frankie Bartow. Bartow, however, could not keep UCSB at bay, and surrendered 4 runs in the inning, putting the Gauchos ahead 5-1.
Miami was quiet through the 7th inning, but scratched back in the 8th. Back to back RBI singles by Randy Batista and Zack Collins made the score 5-3 UCSB and the game was tight once more. Brandon Lopez flied out to RF, and Johnny Ruiz struck out looking on a 3-2 slider to end the inning and end the Miami threat.
Bartow stayed in the game, and worked a quick 1-2-3 8th inning, highlighted by 2 sterling defensive plays by 3B Edgar Michelangeli.
Miami got a runner on in the 9th with one out, but pinch-hitter Peter Crocito grounded into a game and season-ending double play to end it.
For Miami, it's a very disappointing end to the season. The Hurricanes, making their 25th appearance in the College World Series, went winless (0-2) in Omaha for only the 2nd time ever. They also went winless in the 1979 CWS.
This team was really good all year long. 50 wins. 23 comeback wins. A 17 game winning streak. All-Americans. A 1st round draft pick. National Stopper of the Year. And much more. But, in terms of the chase for a National Championship, it was all for naught.
As fun as this season's ride was, it's now done. I know getting to CWS is a monumental achievement, but this showing in Omaha, only the 2nd trip that the Canes left winless, can be categorized as nothing more than a complete failure.
Oh well. There's always next year. See you for more baseball in Feburary.