State Colleges

UM baseball suffers tough ending to difficult season

For the third consecutive season, the Miami Hurricanes will not be advancing to a Super Regional in the NCAA tournament.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys rode three doubles, two triples, and six innings from starter Mark Robinette to a 7-1 victory Sunday at Patterson Stadium, ending the Hurricanes’ season at 37-25.

“Obviously, it’s not the way we wanted to play [Sunday],” said UM assistant coach Gino DiMare, managing the club one more time while head coach Jim Morris battles pneumonia in a Duke University hospital. “I thought we were going to be ready to play, but the wheels kind of fell off there. We couldn’t get anything going offensively.”

Actually, the Hurricanes looked like a hitting machine when the game started.

Tyler Palmer led off with a double to left field. Alex Hernandez then singled to center, and that brought Oklahoma State pitching coach Rob Walton to the mound.

Whatever was said must have worked, because Miami didn’t get another hit until the seventh inning. Miami scored when Robinette’s pickoff attempt sailed past first baseman Tanner Kreitemeier, plating Palmer from third. But that was it.

“I thought we might get a big inning there, but we only got one run out of it,” DiMare said.

“We just couldn’t muster up anything after that with any base runners so that we could attack them offensively like we did in the first game against them. We’re not a team that hits the long ball so when we fall behind it puts a lot of pressure on our offense.”

Hernandez hit a deep fly to center field in the third inning, but Cowboys center fielder Saulyer Saxon made an impressive full speed over-the-shoulder catch to retire the side.

Chantz Mack walked to lead off the fourth and was sacrificed to second, but Brad Fieger lined out to shortstop and Garrett Kennedy flew out to Saxon in center.

In the fifth, Dale Carey walked with two outs, but he was thrown out by catcher Victor Romero trying to steal second. Tyler Palmer was batting at the time, and he led off the sixth getting hit on the elbow. Then he was thrown out by Romero. By that time Oklahoma State had a 3-1 lead.

The Cowboys scored once in the fourth off Miami starter Andrew Suarez (3-6) when Donne Walton tripled to the right-field corner, then came home on a sacrifice fly by Randy McCurry deep enough to right to tie the game.

The Cowboys plated two in the fifth on a single, triple, and throwing error by second baseman Alex Hernandez.

The Hurricanes had one last rally in them in the seventh. David Thompson singled to right field. Brad Fieger was safe on an error by third baseman Robbie Rea. But with two on and none out, Miami still couldn’t score.

Kennedy hit a grounder to pitcher Vince Whitehead, who threw Thompson out at third. Then Roger Gonzalez popped up and Brandon Lopez grounded out.

Oklahoma State scored twice more in the seventh and eighth innings to put it out of reach.

DiMare was asked what he told the team after the game.

“It was brief,” he said. “We are going to meet more when we get back to the hotel and get a little bit more into detail on things. I told the guys that I enjoyed coaching them. This is a good group of guys, and Coach Morris has said it a number of times. They have worked as hard as any group we have had, and we have had some hard-working groups over the years.

“These guys have endured a tough season. A lot of things came at them from beginning to the end dealing with their head coach not being here. I told them I was proud of them and that if I had guys like them every year, I am going to coach a long time.”

Senior Mack said it was tough ending his career with Morris not in the dugout.

“I wish he was here,” said Mack, who had a single and a walk in four trips to the plate. “That’s the head coach. He’s been my coach for four years. All I can do is wish him the best. There’s nothing I can do about that.

“It’s been a great year, a lot of new friendships. I would tell the younger guys that they’ve got to carry the legacy. They’ve got to continue to represent the ‘U.’ I wasn’t able to go to Omaha [for the College World Series] in my four years here. We need that team next year to get to Omaha and bring home another national championship.”

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