University of Miami

Crucial UM vs. FSU baseball game canceled after rain, lightning

UM baseball coach Jim Morris disappointed in FSU game being cancelled

Jim Morris reflects Sunday, April 23, 2017, on canceled final game of FSU at UM series.
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Jim Morris reflects Sunday, April 23, 2017, on canceled final game of FSU at UM series.

The University of Miami’s most anticipated Atlantic Coast Conference baseball series of the season ended with a whimper Sunday at a rain-saturated Mark Light Field.

Hurricanes coach Jim Morris and Florida State coach Mike Martin met on the field at about 3:40 p.m., shook hands, and moments later the game was canceled.

“I’m disappointed because we like playing this game,’’ said Morris. “It’s a big game and our players love playing against Florida State. This is my favorite series. It has been ever since I’ve been here.”

Officials called off the game 1 hour and 45 minutes after the first of several lightning delays that began at 1:55 p.m., just when the rain began to fall in torrents.

Florida State (25-16, 10-10 ACC) was leading 2-0 and had runners on the corners with two outs in the third inning when play was halted.

To make matters worse, tarpelin was not put on the field because of the lightning. When FSU players ran out to try to help roll the tarp onto the field, the officiating crew waved the players back inside the dugout. The rain kept falling and the field was filled with giant pools of water.

“The umpires are in charge,’’ Morris said. “We have a curfew of 6 p.m. Once you hand the cards to the umpire you’re out of the process. They’re in charge.”

The coach said on Friday he discussed with administrators the possibility of playing a doubleheader on Saturday, since the weather forecast called for rain Sunday.

“It wasn’t my decision totally, but I hate doubleheaders,’’ Morris said. “So do most coaches. They’d rather play two singles. You get two crowds and two everything. We had great crowds, particularly [Saturday] night.”

After losing the opening game of the series 6-3 Friday night and winning the next one 5-4 Saturday in the 10th inning on a throwing error that scored the deciding run, the Hurricanes (19-20, 10-10 ACC) badly needed a chance to win the series.

“Every game right now helps us by winning,’’ Morris said.

With 16 games left, not including what was to be Sunday’s FSU finale, UM needs to win most of them to have a shot at extending its NCAA-record, 44-year NCAA regional streak.

Miami plays its next game at 7 p.m. Tuesday at FIU (25-16, 10-8 Conference USA), with a 6 p.m. game against FIU on Wednesday at Mark Light Field. Morris said he tentatively has right-handed freshman Evan McKendry (3-1, 3.82 ERA) slated to pitch Tuesday and right-handed junior Jesse Lepore (1-5, 5.08) pitching Wednesday.

The Canes then travel to Boston College (14-22, 5-15 ACC) for a three-game weekend series.