University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes’ Bryan Garcia named nation’s top closer

Jim Morris, Miami Hurricanes back in Omaha for College World Series

University of Miami baseball coach Jim Morris has brought one of his teams to the College World Series for the 14th time. The Hurricanes open play in the 2016 CWS on June 18, 2016 against Arizona.
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University of Miami baseball coach Jim Morris has brought one of his teams to the College World Series for the 14th time. The Hurricanes open play in the 2016 CWS on June 18, 2016 against Arizona.

The Miami Hurricanes have had some great closers in their history, from the submarining Rick Raether to Robbie Morrison, George Huguet and Danny Graves.

On Saturday morning, Bryan Garcia — the junior who owns the UM record for career saves at 43 and counting — became the first Hurricanes’ closer to be named the national Stopper of the Year by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.

The award has been given out since 2005.

Garcia, already a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and an All-American, was recently a sixth-round pick of the Tigers after notching 18 saves this season, good for second-most in the nation.

Miami has played in 27 games decided by three runs or less and has won 21 of them.

“We’re not a team that’s going to go out there and blow a lot of people out,’’ Garcia said on the eve of Miami’s opening game late Saturday at the College World Series against Arizona.

“Every game we feel like we’re in for a dogfight. If it’s close going into the ninth, I know I have to do my job. They take care of the first eight, and I do it in the ninth.’’

Garcia, who attended Christopher Columbus High School, came into the CWS with a 2-0 record and 1.95 ERA in 37 innings. He recorded his 40th career save May 26 at the ACC tournament to surpass Huguet for the Hurricanes’ all-time mark.

“To me, the toughest role on the team is to be a closer,” coach Jim Morris said. “If you can get a guy that can come in, be confident enough to do that job and confident enough to talk and share that with the other players, it’s definitely going to help us.”

ENJOYING THE RIDE

Junior third baseman Edgar Michelangeli has received much national attention for his exaggerated bat flips after big home runs over N.C. State in the ACC tournament and against Boston College in the Super Regional.

Although some have criticized Michelangeli, he has received plenty of support from his teammates and coaches as well as UM fans. It didn’t hurt that his homers helped win those two games for the Hurricanes — the latter one putting the Eagles away and sending Miami to Omaha for the 25th time.

“I’ve enjoyed it, enjoyed the ride,” Michelangeli said. “It is what it is, and I’m trying to cherish every moment. I’m just happy for our team, happy we’re back in Omaha. When it’s all said and done, I’m sure I’ll look back and be very proud of these moments.”

THIS AND THAT

▪ Perhaps the biggest baseball name to come out of Oklahoma State is Robin Ventura, now the manager of the White Sox.

Coach Josh Holliday said Ventura has been in contact since the Cowboys advanced to the CWS for the first time since 1999.

“We’ve heard from Robin two or three times since last weekend. He’s great,” said Holliday, who was the starting third baseman on the OSU team in 1999. “Obviously, he’s a great player, but he’s been a great supporter and been behind our kids and has stopped by a couple of times. And just his interest in what we’re doing and support is very meaningful.”

▪ Miami and Florida are back in Omaha in successive years, yet TCU is at the CWS for the third consecutive June.

After coming to Omaha in back-to-back years, the Horned Frogs had to rebuild a bit this season but ended 47-16 and knocked off No. 4 national seed Texas A&M in the super regional.

“This particular team, we have an entirely, for the most part, it’s a new club,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “We have a couple of key guys back. This is not a position I don’t think people expected us to be in.”

▪ UM junior catcher Zack Collins and sophomore pitcher Michael Mediavilla recognized as Rawlings All-Americans by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

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