University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes to face Florida Gators in high-stakes elimination game at College World Series

UM coach Jim Morris, left, walks past Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan at the start of a coaches news conference, Friday, June 12, 2015, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.
UM coach Jim Morris, left, walks past Florida coach Kevin O'Sullivan at the start of a coaches news conference, Friday, June 12, 2015, at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb. AP

Miami and Florida had not met in the College World Series before Saturday night.

The two in-state rivals get a rematch Wednesday night.

The stakes are high as the loser gets a flight back to the Sunshine State whereas the winner gets at least one more game in Omaha.

“I’m excited we got the win, excited we’re not going home,” said Miami outfielder Jacob Heyward, whose team lost to Florida 15-3 in its CWS opener.

“We’re very confident in ourselves. In the last game against Florida, we had 11 hits. We had six or seven balls hit right at people. If those fall, maybe it’s a different game. We had the one bad inning. If we play solid, swing the bat, we can win this game.”

The Hurricanes (50-16) did a nice job of putting Saturday’s blowout behind them as they never trailed in Monday’s 4-3 victory over Arkansas.

Florida, which busted out for 11 runs in a disastrous fourth inning for Miami, failed to score in Monday’s 1-0 loss to Virginia, which dropped it into the losers’ bracket.

Both teams will have to forget about the most recent past on Wednesday or they risk being sent home.

“Of course you want to get revenge, but we’re just happy to get another shot at them,” Miami’s David Thompson said.

“I’m glad it’s a new day. The first one was pretty rough. We know they’re a tough team but I think we can come out victorious if we play our game.”

Miami and Florida (47-20) each have a history of ending the other’s season although this will be the first time it has happened in Omaha.

Wednesday’s game will mark the 12th time Miami or Florida had its season ended by the other, with the Gators holding the upper hand recently.

Miami knocked Florida out of the postseason the first eight times in regional or super regional play starting in 1981, and most recently from 2002 to ’04.

Florida sent Miami home three consecutive years, from 2009 to ’11, and is 7-0 against the Hurricanes in the postseason under coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

The Hurricanes hold a 12-10 postseason edge over the Gators going into Wednesday’s game.

Florida has won 20 of the past 25 games against UM.

“We’re excited about playing, and to me, it’s not a Miami-Florida deal,” UM coach Jim Morris said.

“We’re excited to be in the World Series, and Florida is one of the teams here and a team we need to beat to keep going. This is a different day, a different game. One of the things proved is if you don’t make mistakes, you win. Mistakes catch up to you.”

Florida is coming off its first loss in almost a month, as the Gators had their winning streak snapped at 10 games in a 1-0 loss to Virginia late Monday night.

The Gators mustered just two hits against Virginia and are hoping for a rematch on Friday night. Miami, which beat the Cavaliers in its Atlantic Coast Conference tournament opener, would like that chance as well.

“I trust our guys. We’ll have to bounce back,” O’Sullivan said after Monday’s loss.

“Obviously everybody’s disappointed right now, but we’ve got no choice but to move forward. We’re playing Miami, a rival of ours. So let’s have at it on Wednesday and see what happens.”

BUDDING STAR

Heyward was one of the more popular players in Omaha after his Monday heroics. Heyward had a part in all four of Miami’s runs — he hit a two-run homer, scored from third on an error and drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

Not bad for a player who didn’t see much playing time until recently. Heyward, whose older brother Jason plays for the St. Louis Cardinals, said he was enjoying the extra attention.

“It was a crazy day, a dream come true having a game like that,” Heyward said Tuesday afternoon. “It was one of the best days of my life, honestly. I’m playing baseball, doing the thing I love to do. I’m just having fun. It was crazy, seeing my face all over ESPN. Every kid dreams of that.”

▪ The Hurricanes will go with No. 3 starter Enrique Sosa (7-4) on Wednesday, and the Gators counter with freshman Alex Faedo (5-1).

Sosa gave up two runs in six innings in a 2-1 loss at Florida on Feb. 22; Faedo gave up two hits to Miami in 1 1/3 innings of relief on Feb. 20.

▪ Florida freshman catcher/DH JJ Schwarz — the son of Marlins assistant pitching coordinator Jeff — is 24 for 46 (.522) with four home runs and 19 RBI in 12 postseason games. Schwarz’s career-high 12-game hitting streak ended Monday after he went 0 for 3.

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