The Hurricanes’ baseball team was back on the field Sunday, one day after suffering their most lopsided postseason loss in the program’s illustrious history.
It was no surprise Miami was more than ready to put Saturday’s 15-3 loss to the Gators to rest.
Monday is another chance to play, and the Hurricanes say that is their focus.
“I loved the atmosphere of our practice because we need to come out like we always do and be loose,’’ said outfielder Willie Abreu, whose Hurricanes play Arkansas in a loser’s bracket game of the College World Series Monday at 3 p.m. on ESPN2.
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“The Florida game is over, it’s done. We have a new game on Monday. We’re moving on, ready to do our thing. We have the Razorbacks, and that’s it.’’
Both Miami (49-16) and Arkansas (40-24) are a loss from the season ending, and neither team wants to head home just yet.
The Hurricanes will send second-team All-ACC pitcher Thomas Woodrey (7-2) against Keaton McKinney (6-2) in Monday’s must-win game.
Although McKinney was strong in the second half of the season, he has been struggling with a hip injury and has only pitched 6 1/3 innings in three postseason starts.
The winner of Monday’s contest stays alive and plays the loser of Monday’s Florida-Virginia game Wednesday night.
“We’ve been able to bounce back all year,’’ said Woodrey, who is looking to rebound. He was pulled after pitching two innings in Miami’s second Super Regional game against VCU. “We’ve had a few shaky games like that and we’ve done a good job of putting it behind us. That’s the nature of baseball. Every game is a new day. That’s why it’s the greatest game. Monday will start 0-0. We just have to get out there and run with it.”
Coach Jim Morris had his team go through a 90-minute workout at an area high school and kept the mood light. The Hurricanes, who gave up a CWS record-tying 11 runs in the fourth inning Saturday, have bounced back from lopsided losses before. Morris seemed confident his team would do so again in Omaha.
“I thought they were pretty loose which is exactly what I wanted to see,’’ said Morris, whose team won 13 in a row after a 15-5 loss to Florida State on April 25. “I went to bed thinking about the fourth inning and woke up thinking about the fourth inning. It was a crazy game. It’s very important to get our psyche back.’’
Miami and Arkansas share little history — football coach Jimmy Johnson notwithstanding — as the two have played just four times in baseball. The last time the teams faced off was 2001.
“We haven’t played them in a long time, but we know their outfielder [Andrew Benintendi] is the SEC Player of the Year and have a big, tall right-hander going against us who throws on a downward plane,’’ Morris said.
“We just have to worry about us and come out ready to play.’’
As is the case with Miami, the Gators don’t know much about their next opponent, although coach Kevin O’Sullivan is a little familiar with Virginia.
O’Sullivan graduated from Virginia in 1991 and was an assistant coach there from 1996-97.
The Gators, however, haven’t played the Cavaliers since 1989.
Florida plays Virginia in a winner’s bracket game Monday at 8 (ESPN2).
“I still follow them. They’re playing as good as anybody in the country right now,’’ O’Sullivan said. “At this point, I don’t know if it really matters who you play. Everybody’s here for a reason.’’
Both Florida and Virginia have been playing great over the past few weeks. The Cavaliers have won six straight postseason games since ending the ACC tournament with three consecutive losses. Florida has won its past 10 since opening the SEC tournament with a loss to Arkansas.