Canes Take Command
Lincoln - The No. 2 seed Miami took firm control of the NCAA Lincoln Regional with an 8-2 victory over the Manhattan in the winner's bracket game on Saturday night at Hawks Field. The win left the Hurricanes as the only undefeated team in the regional, while the Jaspers fell into tomorrow's elimination game with San Francisco at 1:05 p.m.
Miami will await the winner of Sunday's game between Manhattan and San Francisco in the first championship game, which is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. A Miami loss on Sunday, would force a second championship game on Monday at 1:05 p.m.
The Hurricanes improved to 38-21 overall with their ninth consecutive NCAA Regional victory, while Manhattan slipped to 33-22 on the year.
Manny Miguelez improved to 8-4 on the season by throwing six strong innings and surrendering just two runs, one earned. He scattered five hits and struck out five while walking just two Manhattan hitters.
Jon McLean tossed two innings of hitless relief and Chris Perez pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the win and put Miami in the driver's seat in the four-team regional format, after top-seeded Nebraska was eliminated by San Francisco earlier in the day.
Jesse Darcy (5-3) took the loss for the Jaspers by allowing six earned runs on 12 hits in seven innings of work. He struck out six and walked four, while hitting a pair of Miami batters.
Although the Hurricanes owned a 4-2 lead after four innings, the Jaspers put pressure on the traditional power from south Florida early in the contest.
The Jaspers jumped to a quick 1-0 lead by scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning. Nick Derba started things off with a one-out single, before being retired on Mike Garcia's fielder's choice groundout.
With two outs, Matt Rizzotti laced a double to put runners at second and third with two outs for the Jaspers. John Fitzpatrick walked to load the bases, before Rizzotti scored on a passed ball charged to Miami catcher Eddy Rodriguez. Miguelez got Dom Lombardi to ground out to shortstop to end the inning without further damage.
Manhattan's lead was short-lived, as the Hurricanes answered with a run of their own in the top of the second. Dennis Raben led off with a single, before Rodriguez struck out swinging for the first out. Yonder Alonso added a single to push Raben to third, but Alonso was thrown out at second trying to take the extra base. Roger Tomas then came through with a two-out single to score Raben and tie the game.
Miguelez set down the Jaspers quietly in the second, and the Hurricanes took control of the game with a three-run third inning. Jemile Weeks started things off with a walk and came all the way around to score on Tommy Giles' single and an error by Manhattan third baseman Dom Lombardi.
Jon Jay then singled to drive in Giles and give the Canes a 3-1 lead, before Danny Valencia, who had five RBIs in the regional-opening win over San Francisco on Friday, smashed an RBI double to give Miami a 4-1 lead.
Manhattan kept battling and chipped into the lead with a run in the bottom of the fourth, on Eric Nieto's two-double and Derba's RBI single to cut the Miami lead to 4-2.
But that was the last threat the Jaspers were able to mount against the Hurricanes, as Miguelez and McLean joined forces to retire 10 straight Manhattan hitters, while the offense added two runs in the top of the sixth and two more in the top of the ninth to put the game out of reach.
On the night, Miami pounded out 15 hits, while holding Manhattan to just five hits. Tomas led the Hurrican hit parade with a 3-for-4 effort at the plate that included two RBIs and a run scored, while Weeks, Giles, Jay, Raben and Rodriguez all managed two hits for Miami. For the second straight game each of the top eight hitters in the Hurricane lineup had at least one hit.
Derba was the only Jasper to enjoy a multi-hit night, as the Manhattan catcher went 2-for-3 with an RBI.