Within an hour of taking Mark Light Field against Texas Tech, the top-seeded Miami Hurricanes had everything laid out neatly and sweetly on Saturday night in their winners’ bracket of the Coral Gables Regional.
The Florida Gators had lost their second game in the Gainesville Regional and were eliminated from the NCAA tournament, thereby giving the Hurricanes home field advantage for the next round — should they win their own regional.
But the UM bats once again went dry as the Hurricanes fell 3-0 to the No. 2 seed Red Raiders, leaving the Canes one loss from ending their 2014 campaign and their dreams of reaching the College World Series.
“We’ve got to swing the bat better and we’ve got to have more opportunities and take advantage of the opportunities we have,’’ UM coach Jim Morris said. “We didn’t get any two-out hits tonight to give us a chance to score.’’
UM (42-18), which has scored one run in two regional games, meets No. 4 seed Bethune-Cookman (27-32) at 2 p.m. Sunday at Alex Rodriguez Park. The Wildcats eliminated Columbia 6-5 Saturday afternoon to stay alive.
A loss by UM would end its season. A victory would put the Canes in a do-or-die game against Texas Tech (42-18) at 7 p.m.
Since the regional is double elimination, should UM defeat B-CU and Texas Tech Sunday, it would play for the regional championship against the Red Raiders at 7 p.m. Monday.
Miami had four hits through eight innings Saturday, and six hits total.
Texas Tech also had six hits.
The Red Raiders scored two runs in the second inning on consecutive bunt-singles by Ryan Long and Devon Conley, two wild pitches and an RBI-single by Tim Proudfoot. Texas Tech added another run in the eighth.
Miami stranded 10 runners.
Left-handed junior Chris Diaz, the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Co-Pitcher of the Year, was hit with his first loss of the season. Diaz (9-1) allowed three earned runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out six.
Freshman Dylan Dusek (7-0) went a season-long eight innings, allowing four hits for the victory. He walked one and struck out three.
“Just a great atmosphere out there,’’ Dusek said. “It was awesome to be at their park and, honestly, just shut them down. I felt great tonight, maybe a little control problems but everything worked my way.”
When asked what it was about his style that stifled the Hurricanes, Dusek replied, “I mean, I’m known as a crafty lefty, so if they haven’t seen many of those, that’s probably what I’m used to hearing in my life. So, fastballs were on, changeup was very good and curveball was there occasionally.
“Overall, just a great night.”
Despite only four hits through eight innings, the Canes still had their chances.
In the first, with one out and Tyler Palmer on third (fielder’s choice) and freshman Zack Collins on second after his 14thdouble of the season, David Thompson popped to second and Brandon Lopez grounded out.
Miami got a big break in the fourth but came up empty. With two outs and Brad Fieger (single) on second and Alex Hernandez on first (walk), Jacob Heyward struck out but reached first on catcher’s interference. Suddenly, what should have been side retired turned into bases loaded for UM, with top-hitting Cane Dale Carey (.312) at the plate.
Carey, who also stranded a runner on second when he struck out in the second inning, hit a weak pop-up to third base to end the threat.
“He did a good job of locating his pitches tonight,’’ Carey said of Dusek. “We had a couple of opportunities, and especially me. I had two opportunities with two outs and runners in scoring position and just didn’t get the job done… Just turn the page and tomorrow’s a new day.”