The Miami Hurricanes didn’t accomplish their mission at the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, but they still got a nice surprise Sunday.
The Hurricanes will stay home and serve as one of 16 hosts when the NCAA tournament begins Friday.
It’s the 24th time — and first time since 2010 — that UM will host a regional. The Hurricanes have been to the tournament an NCAA-record 40 consecutive years but haven’t reached the College World Series since 2008.
On Sunday, the sixth-seeded Canes fell 8-5 to eighth-seeded Georgia Tech in the ACC final in Greensboro, N.C.
UM starter Javi Salas (6-3) never made it past the second inning after allowing four earned runs and six hits.
UM scored twice in the third, then added a run in fifth and closed the gap to 6-5 in the sixth on Michael Broad’s leadoff solo home run. But Georgia Tech delivered what proved to be the decisive flurry in the top of seventh. Designated hitter Zane Evans slapped a two-out, bases-loaded single to center to give his team a three-run cushion.
The fact the 21st-ranked Canes (36-21) were named one of the 16 host sites for the regional round came as a bit of a surprise. Baseball America Magazine and ESPN both projected the Hurricanes as a No. 2 seed. But UM’s strength of schedule and No. 10 ranking in the RPI was apparently more than enough to convince the selection committee.
“We’re a little down right now, but getting to the championship game was huge,” said outfielder Chantz Mack, who was voted to the ACC’s all-tournament team along with pitcher Eric Whaley.
“We’ll be playing at home and there’s a lot of tradition at our place [Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Park]. I’m confident that we’ll play as well as we’re capable of playing.”
Craig T. Greenlee
It was a good weekend for the favorites at the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball Series’ Florida Open in Fort Lauderdale.
Top-seeded John Hyden and Sean Scott beat No. 2 Brad Keenan and John Mayer, 21-14, 21-18, in the men’s championship.
In the women’s final, No. 2 Whitney Pavlik and Jenny Kropp rallied to defeat top-seeded Lauren Fendrick and Brooke Hanson, 14-21, 21-18, 15-10.
Each winning team took home $11,000, and Hyden said Scott earned a lot of his money with his powerful jump serve.
“He was on fire,” Hyden said. “He got us some easy points.”
Hyden, 39, and Scott, 38, believe they are the oldest duo competing in the Cuervo Series.
“We want to prove that we can still do it,” Hyden said. “We’re a lot older than most of the guys we play, but that just gives us motivation.”
For Pavlik and Kropp, the motivation was revenge. They had lost to Fendrick and Hanson in the final of last year’s South Florida Cuervo stop, which was in Miami.