University of Miami baseball coach Jim Morris never forgets to thank the Hurricanes’ enthusiastic fan base. Especially last weekend, when Canes fans filled Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field to watch Miami win the Coral Gables Regional and advance to one of the nation’s eight super regionals.
But Hurricanes fans likely weren’t too pleased to learn that UM’s best-of-3 weekend super regional series against Virginia Commonwealth has been set for noon at Mark Light.
The opener will be at noon Friday — meaning many UM fans will miss the game because of work.
The second game will be at noon Saturday.
The third game, if necessary, will be at noon Sunday.
Rain is forecast for all three afternoons.
“We don’t have a choice,” a disappointed Morris told the Miami Herald on Tuesday afternoon. “ESPN decides what times people play. Of course it’s going to affect the crowd. I’d rather play at 7 p.m., but I’m thinking lunch at the Light.
“You know what? We need all our fans there. There’s nothing we can do. It has to be 12 [p.m.], 12 and 12. I’m just happy to be at home and still playing.”
The first two games will be televised on ESPNU, with the possible Sunday game either on ESPNU or ESPN2.
The starting times had not been disclosed (and possibly were not even decided) by the NCAA after UM (47-15) routed Columbia 21-3 on Monday night to win the regional title and advance to face VCU (40-23). However, Morris made it a point to thank the fans and urge them to come “Friday night” in his postgame news conference.
“First of all, I forgot I need to thank the crowd. I thought the crowd was really into the game tonight,” Morris said after the game. “If you all follow me on Twitter, you saw that I sent a note to all season-ticket [holders] on [Monday], the Hurricane Club, and anybody else I knew to try and get them out to the ballpark and make it a little bit of a home-field advantage.
“I want to thank them, but we need to close the gates on Friday night. That needs to be a goal. I am starting to lobby right now for that.
“We have to close the gates on Friday night.”
The Hurricanes fans, a rowdy bunch indeed, were 3,115 strong Monday night. The Sunday night game drew 2,759, and Saturday’s game drew 3,315.
Friday night’s opener against FIU was sold out.
Alex Rodriguez Park is listed as 4,999 capacity.
The Canes, the No. 5 national seed of 64 teams that began the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament, are the only team in the super regionals to be facing a No. 4 regional seed.
Should Miami win its super regional, it would face the winner of the Florida State (44-19) at Florida (47-16) super regional – set for 7:30 p.m. Friday (ESPN2), 5 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2) and, if necessary, either 6 p.m. (ESPNU) or 7 p.m. (ESPN2) Sunday.
Tickets for the super regional series are available online at hurricanesports.com, or by calling the UM ticket office at 1-800-462-2637.
The Coral Gables Regional All-Tournament team included five Hurricanes. Third baseman David Thompson (.340, 19 home runs, 85 RBI) was named Most Outstanding Player. Also making it: shortstop Brandon Lopez, center fielder Ricky Eusebio, right fielder Willie Abreu and pitcher Andy Suarez.
Super regional schedule
GM1: VCU vs. UM, Noon Friday, ESPNU
GM2: VCU vs. UM, Noon Saturday, ESPNU
*GM3: VCU vs. UM, Noon Sunday