Giving up big innings was Miami’s undoing at the College World Series last June and a four-run sixth ended the Hurricanes’ season Monday.
For just the second time in 25 trips to Omaha, Miami (50-14) failed to win a series game as California-Santa Barbara scored four runs following an hour-long rain delay and knocked out the Canes with a 5-3 win. Miami is the first team eliminated from the eight-team tournament.
The Hurricanes last went two-and-out here in 1979 after opening with a loss to Arizona before being ousted by Pepperdine. Miami’s 2016 tournament began with a loss to Arizona as well.
Things were going quite well for Miami as it went into the bottom of the sixth tied at 1.
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After starter Danny Garcia gave up an infield single to Devon Gradford to lead off the sixth, the skies opened up leading to a 62-minute delay.
Garcia came back, got the first out, then gave up a double JJ Muno. Reliever Frankie Bartow came in and walked his first batter to load up the bases.
Pinch-hitter Ryan Cumberland made it a 3-1 game as he singled down the first base line.
The Gauchos (43-19-1) tacked on two more runs with a pair of sacrifice bunts — one of which didn’t result in an out due to first baseman Christopher Barr dropping the soft toss from Bartow.
Miami put together a nice rally in the eighth by scoring twice and putting the go-ahead runner at the plate.
Edgar Michelangeli started things with a one-out double then came home on Randy Batista’s single. Zack Collins, who gave Miami a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the first, dropped a base hit into right scoring Carl Chester.
That was it, however, as Brandon Lopez flied out to right and Johnny Ruiz struck out looking.
The sixth inning marred a good start from Garcia (9-5) after a shaky beginning as Miami had Andrew Cabezas warming up in the bullpen during the second with the score tied at 1.
Garcia definitely settled in, however, and put 10 consecutive batters down — including the third through fifth innings — before Gradford reached in the sixth on an infield single UM shortstop Lopez couldn’t handle.
Early on, however, Garcia had Miami a bit worried.
After the Canes took a 1-0 lead on Collins’ shot over the right field fence with two outs in the top of the first, the Gauchos quickly tied things up in the bottom of the frame on a single from Muno.
In the second, Santa Barbara loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks. Miami got out of that jam without any damage as Michelangeli handled a hot shot from Andrew Calica, stepped on third and fired to Barr at first to complete the double play.
Miami had a chance to put a runner in scoring position in the third when Chester reached on a throwing error.
Chester somersaulted rounding first, however, and was thrown out as he recovered and tried to reach second.
Miami also had runners on in the fourth but with two outs, Willie Abreu grounded out.
Ruiz walked to start the seventh, but Abreu grounded into a double play.
In the ninth, pinch-hitter Peter Crocitto grounded into a game-ending — as well as a season-ending — double play.