Another great regular season and another trip home without an Atlantic Coast Conference championship ring for the Miami Hurricanes.
The top-seeded team in the ACC Baseball Championship rallied for a second game in a row late, once again getting a key hit from Edgar Michelangeli in the ninth to tie the score at 4, but rival Florida State took advantage of wildness from reliever Devin Meyer in the bottom of the inning for a 5-4 victory Saturday.
The win was the eighth in a row in the tournament for the fourth-seeded and defending ACC champion Seminoles (37-19), sending them into the title game Sunday against Clemson.
“For us, we’ve just got to move on,” said UM coach Jim Morris, whose fourth-ranked club will make its 45th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance as a likely No. 1 seed, considering its gaudy 45-11 record. “We happened not to win [Saturday], but that’s not going to be how we’re remembered,”
Said Michelangeli. “We can’t control if we win or not. We can just control our effort.”
Morris did say an ACC title might have earned Miami the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.
But now that’s just speculation, as is the move by Morris not to send out ace closer Bryan Garcia, who last game become the program’s all-time saves leader, for the bottom of the ninth since because threw just 14 pitches the inning before.
Instead, Morris went with the freshman Meyer, who gave up a swinging bunt to start the inning, and then walked two hitters before Dylan Busby drilled the ball past a drawn-in infield to set off a Florida State celebration and a dejected walk off by the Hurricanes.
Morris defended his decision to keep Garcia on the bench with the score tied 4-4.
“Of course you want to [bring him in],” Morris said. “But I don’t want to take a chance with any of those guys throwing a lot of pitches. I want to make sure they are real rested for next weekend — and next weekend, if we win, we forget all about this week.”
Busby had himself quite a day against Miami’s pitching staff, going 4 for 5 with three RBI, while Quincy Nieporte, battling a pulled hamstring, had three hits and Florida State’s other two RBI.
Miami starter Michael Mediavilla went six effective innings and allowed just two runs, but the Miami bullpen, which is one of the team’s strengths, didn’t perform to standard with Frankie Bartow allowing two runs in the seventh that gave Florida State a 4-2 lead before Michelangeli’s clutch, two-run single in the ninth.
However, with runners on first and third and just one out, Carl Chester struck out and Christopher Barr lined out to center to end the inning, setting the stage for Florida State’s victory.
Chester’s strikeout was one of 12 on the day for Miami. In fact, every player in the lineup struck out at least once, including three by Johnny Ruiz. For the tournament, the Hurricanes struck out 27 times in three games.
“The real deal is you want to get prepared for this next thing, because at Miami — whether it’s sad to say or good to say — we could win the ACC and if we don’t get to the World Series, it’s not a successful season,” Morris said. “But once in a while you’ve got to win a ring, and it has been too long since I’ve won one.”
Miami’s lone ACC title came in 2008.