University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes need to bounce back after losing CWS opener

Miami's Jacob Heyward bunts in the fourth inning of Saturday’s loss to Arizona. Despite outhitting the Wildcats, the Hurricanes could only muster one run.
Miami's Jacob Heyward bunts in the fourth inning of Saturday’s loss to Arizona. Despite outhitting the Wildcats, the Hurricanes could only muster one run. AP

The Miami Hurricanes have been in this situation before at the College World Series.

That doesn’t mean they like it.

After losing 5-1 to Arizona on Saturday night, Miami has been banished to the loser’s bracket of the CWS.

The Hurricanes (50-13) play an elimination game 2 p.m. Monday against California-Santa Barbara with their season on the line.

Danny Garcia will get the start for Miami as the Hurricanes try to avoid elimination and the end of their season at the College World Series on Monday, June 20, 2016.

A loss and Miami’s season is over. A victory over the Gauchos and the Hurricanes get to play another day — Wednesday, in fact.

“We’re going to come back on Monday and do what we have do to win a ballgame,” junior outfielder Willie Abreu said. “That’s what we do. We don’t stop fighting.”

Miami will have to win four consecutive games between now and Saturday to make it out of its bracket and into the CWS best-of-3 games championship round.

The Hurricanes promise they’re not looking further than the Gauchos (42-19-1).

“I’m excited. We had a tough loss [Saturday], but we’re going to bounce back,’’ said pitcher Danny Garcia, who will start Game 2 for Miami. “We’re taking this like any other game — have some fun, don’t be nervous and play aggressive. Play like it’s your last game.”

Added catcher Zack Collins: “We need to play our game, get some runs early and get our confidence back.”

Miami catcher Zack Collins talks about what it will take for the Hurricanes to bounce back in their elimination game at the College World Series on Monday, June 20, 2016.

Miami fell behind quickly against Arizona (45-21) on Saturday as starter Michael Mediavilla walked in the first run before giving up a bases-loaded double to make it 3-0 in the top of the first.

UM loaded the bases in the fourth yet only got one run on a single from Christopher Barr, which scored Brandon Lopez.

Miami left the bases full in that inning and watched the Wildcats tack on two more runs in their next trip to the plate.

“We have to be aggressive early,” said Collins, who was 1 for 3 with a double and a walk Saturday. “Teams are going to attack us; we have to be aggressive.”

The Hurricanes may have outhit Arizona 9-7, but they left 10 men stranded and struck out 13 times.

Arizona starter Nathan Bannister struck out 11 in seven strong innings.

“We just need to get a lead early [Monday] and relax,” Miami coach Jim Morris said after his team’s afternoon workout Sunday at a local high school. “We took seven called third strikes on Saturday and three with guys in scoring position. We have to put the ball in play, swing the bats.”

This is the Hurricanes 25th trip to the CWS, and only once before has Miami left Omaha without a victory.

In its past two trips here, Miami fell into the loser’s bracket after the opener and won its first elimination game (against FSU in 2008 and Arkansas last year) before losing in Game 3.

Right now, all the Hurricanes want to do is get to Wednesday. They’ll worry about the rest later.

“You just think about it one game at a time,” Morris said. “You win one and you think about the next one. You’re not thinking about getting eliminated. I don’t think like that. If you’ve got that in mind, you’re in trouble.

“You just go out thinking about winning, go out, do what you gotta do. ... We’ve done that this year. These guys have played hard all year. They played hard [Saturday]. We just didn’t get the big hit.”

▪ Morris said that starting pitcher Jesse Lepore is progressing and could be available to start a potential Game 3 on Wednesday.

Lepore has been limited because of shoulder tightness since the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Lepore only lasted three innings in his previous start in the regional tournament and was scratched from the Super Regional.

“We’re not going to use him in relief; we’re holding off right now,” Morris said. “If he’s ready to throw and we have a third game, he’ll probably be the starter. He just wasn’t ready last week.”

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