Canes Storm Past Dons
Lincoln - The No. 2 seed Miami Hurricanes scored early and often on their way to a 11-2 victory over San Francisco in the second game of the NCAA Lincoln Regional at Hawks Field on Friday night.
The Hurricanes, who improved to 37-21 on the year with the victory, jumped on the Dons for two runs in the first, three more in the second and another in the third to roll to a 6-0 lead.
San Francisco, which was making its first NCAA Regional appearance in school history, scratched the scoreboard with single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to trim Miami's lead to 6-2, before the Hurricanes squelched any hopes of a USF comeback with four runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 10-2 lead.
Miami's scoring barrage propelled them to its eighth straight NCAA Regional victory and into Saturday's 7:05 p.m. winner's bracket game against Manhattan (33-21), which advanced with a 4-1 victory over the hosts and No. 6 national seed Nebraska earlier on Friday afternoon. San Francisco fell to 38-22 on the year and will face the Huskers (42-16) in Saturday's elimination game at 1:05 p.m.
Hurricane starter Danny Gil earned the win by allowing just two runs on three hits in 5.1 innings. Making his third start of the year, Gil struck out four and walked three to improve to 3-2 on the year. Don starter Scott Cousins slipped to 4-3 on the season after being roughed up for nine runs, eight earned, on nine hits in 5.1 innings. Cousins struck out four and walked four, while giving up four extra-base hits.
After Gil set down the Dons in order in the top of the first, Jemile Weeks got things started quickly for the Hurricanes with a leadoff double. Tommy Giles followed with a walk, before Jon Jay laid down a sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third with just one out. Danny Valencia then reached on an error by USF second baseman Joey Railey, scoring Weeks and moving Giles to third. After Dennis Raben struck out swinging, Giles scored after Cousins uncorked a wild pitch to give Miami a 2-0 lead.
Gil held San Francisco scoreless again in the second, and the Hurricanes wasted little time in pushing more runs across in the bottom of the inning. Gus Menendez smacked a leadoff single and Younder Alonso followed with a walk before Roger Tomas moved the runners up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt. Weeks then notched his second hit of the game with an RBI single to left field to make it 3-0. After Giles popped out, Jay drew a two-out walk to load the bases for Valencia, who singled up the middle to drive in Alonso and Weeks to give the Hurricanes a 5-0 lead.
Gil put down the Dons in order, including a pair of strikeouts looking to end the inning, before Miami added another run in the third to build a commanding 6-0 cushion.
San Francisco scored its first-ever run in the NCAA Tournament in the fourth inning, as Cousins led off with a walk and moved to second on a second straight walk to Stefan Gartrell. After Luke Sommer popped out, Jonathan Norfolk reached on an error by Valencia at third base, allowing Cousins to come around to score.
Cousins held the Canes in check in both the fourth and fifth innings, before the Dons rallied for a second run in the top of the sixth inning to cut Miami's lead to 6-2.
But the Hurricanes ended any San Francisco hopes of an upset with a four-run sixth that included back-to-back home runs from Valencia and Denis Raben. Valencia's two-run shot was part of a huge offensive night for the junior from Boca Raton, Fla, who drove in five runs and scored two more in a 2-for-4 effort at the plate.
After Valencia's seventh homer of the year closed the book on Cousins, Raben greeted USF reliever Jason Dufloth with a solo shot deep to left-center field, his fifth of the season. The Hurricanes added an insurance run off Duthlof in the bottom of the eighth to close the scoring.
Valencia and Weeks were the only two Hurricanes with more than one hit, as Miami received production throughout its lineup. Each of the starters one through eight in the Hurricane lineup recorded at least one hit in Miami's 11-hit attack.
San Francisco managed just four hits against three Hurricane pitchers, as Jon McLean surrendered just one hit in 1.2 solid innings of relief while Ricky Orta pitched two shutout innings to close the game.