After the Miami baseball team kept its season going with a win in an elimination game Monday afternoon, Hurricanes coach Jim Morris told his team they were going to “win the second game.”
They didn’t, however, and now Miami’s season is complete.
The Hurricanes put one runner in scoring position and failed to score in Monday’s 4-0 loss to Texas Tech in the championship of the Coral Gables Regional at Mark Light Field.
Miami topped the Red Raiders 2-1 in 10 innings earlier in the day but couldn’t get the second win.
“We were the home team, I thought we were going to win,” Morris said.
Texas Tech (43-18) moves to an NCAA super regional for the first time in its program’s history and are two wins away from the College World Series in Omaha.
The Hurricanes end with a record of 44-19 as they failed to get out of the regional round for a fourth consecutive year. Miami hasn’t been to the CWS since 2008.
“It’s very disappointing,” said leadoff hitter Dale Carey, who walked three times in the championship game. “We fought hard in the game and all season. I’m proud of us.”
The Hurricanes got plenty of pitching during this regional but not enough run support.
In Monday’s championship game, the Hurricanes first hit didn’t come until the fourth inning as they were almost completely shut down by starter Cameron Smith.
“I didn’t even know I was going to pitch,” said Smith, who pitched a three-hitter despite complaining about stiffness in his left arm. “But I told coach I wanted the ball. I had to go and prove myself from my last outing. I put my team first and played well behind me.”
Miami was shut out by the Red Raiders for the second time in three days. The Hurricanes also lost 3-0 to Texas Tech on Saturday.
The Hurricanes hadn’t been shutout all season before Saturday; it happened to the Hurricanes twice in the regional as Miami’s bats went cold. The Hurricanes went 4-3 since clinching the ACC regular season title two weeks ago.
Hard to explain
“They did a great job against us,’’ Morris said. “It’s a hard thing to explain at any level, whether it’s here or high school or the major leagues and everywhere in between. It’s hard to explain why the bats go cold. We’ve scored a lot of runs. But their two lefties ate our lunch.”
The Hurricanes scored 13 runs in its five games in the Coral Gables Regional — although 10 of those came in Sunday’s blow out of Bethune-Cookman.
In three games against the Red Raiders, Miami put two runs across with both coming in Monday’s extra-innings win.
Monday, Miami’s pitching was strong in both games.
Closer Bryan Garcia started the resumed game (Tech was leading 1-0 when the game was postponed because of weather on Sunday night) and pitched three no-hit innings.
In the second game, starter Derik Beauprez gave Miami four solid innings as he didn’t give up his first hit until there was one out in the fourth.
Miami replaced Beauprez with submarine reliever Cooper Hammond.
The freshman from Venice got into a little trouble with one out as back-to-back singles put runners on the corners. Hammond then struck out pinch hitter Todd Ritchie (after he failed to bunt Devon Conley home from third and got Bryant Burleson to fly out to left.
Texas Tech did its damage in the seventh, with Ryan Long reaching after being clipped by a pitch and Tim Proudfoot singled.
Conley bunted to move the runners, but Miami catcher Garrett Kennedy overthrew Alex Hernandez covering first. The ball sailed into the right field bullpen and the Red Raiders got the only run they needed. Tech tacked on a second run on a sacrifice fly from pinch-hitter Alex Humphreys.
Miami, meanwhile, didn’t do much to threaten. The Hurricanes rarely got the ball out of the infield and put just one runner (Johnny Ruiz in the seventh) in scoring position.
So, when Tech scored two on a single from Zach Davis in the top of the ninth, the game was all but over.
“They have a great pitching staff,” outfielder Tyler Palmer said. “Every guy they threw at us kept us off balance, stayed ahead in the count, threw for strikes.”
In the elimination game, the Hurricanes quickly tied things up as they came into the eighth down 1-0.
The Hurricanes got back-to-back singles from Palmer and Zack Collins to start things off with Palmer coming home on David Thompson’s grounder to third.
In the top of the 10th, Miami had runners on the corners with one out when Thompson lofted a fly ball that landed just down the right field line. Thompson’s double brought Palmer in from third to make it 2-1. Miami had bases loaded with one out in the 10th but couldn’t put any more across.
With Garcia dealing, it didn’t matter as he put the Red Raiders down in order in all three innings pitched.
“We knew if we won the first game, we had a good chance,” pitcher Javi Salas said. “We battled all season long, had a tough stretch at the beginning and really came along.”